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MSU group works to raise suicide awareness

September 28, 2015

MSU’s Active Minds Communications Director Bryan Meek said he joined the group because he felt very close to the issue.

“I have a close family member who has borderline personality disorder, they have attempted to take their life on multiple occasions,” Meek said. “Thank God they are still here — that’s why I’m here.”

For Meek, a neuroscience senior, and many others like him, MSU’s branch of Active Minds allows them a way to help people deal with an issue that some feel does not get enough attention.

“Mental illness is accepted as a valid illness by the medical community but not enough by every day society,” Meek said.

“It’s not just on college campuses, it’s nationwide. If you have pneumonia for example, then you get to see a doctor much faster than if you were mentally ill: or if you ask for a day off because you have pneumonia it’s considered more valid than if you ask for a day off because have depression.”

Active Minds members hosted their Send Silence Packing event Friday, out of a desire to help students better understand how serious the suicide epidemic is, psychology senior and MSU Active Minds Vice President Rachel Pruiett said.

According to the Active Minds national chapter’s website, 1,100 cases of suicide occurs on college campuses each year.

“Sometimes people see the number 1,100 and don’t realize how big of a number that really is, you just read it and fly by it,” Pruiett said.

Meenu Sundararaju, a computer science sophomore and MSU Active Minds Director of Public Relations, said as people see and hear more about the problem of suicides on college campuses they start asking how they can help.

“People are genuinely curious and interested — it seems like just a statistic but when you see it on display it’s so much more,” Sundararaju said. “I feel like a lot of the students are really realizing that now too, and stopping by the table and saying, ‘I didn’t realize that’ and ‘How can I get involved?’”

Pruiett said, the issue of mental health is of particular importance to college students.

“You come into college thinking that everybody is having the best time of their lives,” Pruiett said. “Everybody has a story, and when this many people are dealing with their problems in this way — people need to be more aware that it’s happening and that it’s something that we need to fix.”

Active Minds not only wants to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst students — they want to work with university administrators and faculty to make students aware of the resources on campus that can help them, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Terry Frazier said in a speech delivered at the Send Silence Packing event.

“We want to inspire students, to know that they’re loved and they’re here,” Frazier said. “We are in this together, we are one community.”

Meek said it is important that students take advantage of all the services offered at MSU, to deal with depression.

“You have a bunch of resources on campus, use them,” Meek said. “Use your friends, use your family, but ending your life is not the option, because I guarantee you that there are a lot of people who care about you, more than you will ever know.”


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