Writing on sticky notes, students crumpled their written insecurities into a trash can and posted affirmations to a poster.
For National Suicide Prevention Week, which is from Sept. 8 to 14, Counseling and Psychological Services hosted Fresh Check Day at Brazos Park on Wednesday to discuss student mental health and ways to reach out to others who are struggling.
According to Active Minds, a nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for students, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. 67% of college students first tell a friend they are feeling suicidal before telling anyone else.
“We want to be able to speak about suicide more openly and destigmatize mental health issues,” said Cynthia Manzano, Counseling and Psychological Services outreach director.
Manzano said it’s important to discuss suicide prevention on campus because it gives students resources to help them overcome mental health issues.
Psychology senior Lasydra Powell said talking about suicide prevention as a campus is important in ensuring an inclusive environment and validating mental health struggles.
“When you’re in college, everything else around you can get you down,” Powell said. “You have to be able to keep that strong mentality of positivity within yourself to outweigh that.”
Tables spread throughout Brazos Park featured interactive activities by Active Minds, Health Services and the Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention program.
Students painted on a large canvas with acrylic paints in a stress-reducing exercise. Shirts were designed with inspirational and positive sayings for October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well.
Nursing sophomore Alexandria Cameron said it’s important to acknowledge people who have struggled with suicidal thoughts so they don’t feel overlooked.
“Once we start to talk about it, you start to realize there’s more people going through these types of things than what we would like to admit,” Cameron said.