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Empty Chair Display raises suicide awareness

Empty chairs used to raise awareness for suicide. Vanguard Photographer | Audrey Bergey

Active Minds put on the Empty Chair Dis- play on Oct. 20 in Curtiss where they also held a table sit to speak with those who came to see the display.

Anna Grattan, psychology senior, said the display is put on every year to raise suicide awareness.

“Twenty chairs were put on display, each representing 1,110 students on college campuses lost every year to suicide in the U.S. Each chair had a statistic, a warning sign, a way to help, a survivor story, or risk factors, all regarding suicide,” Grattan said. “Students were able to look at the display, take a free inspirational sticker, and fill out a message they would tell someone who is struggling on our whiteboard.”

Grattan said the display was important for Active Minds to put together because it’s an organization that advocates for mental health and reducing the stigma around it.

Grattan said putting the display together was a rewarding experience.

“Getting to tell survivor stories is impactful,” Grattan said. “Even if just one person was inspired by this display today, we did our job.”

Grattan said she hoped other people found the display to be beneficial.

“I hope that people understand that they are not alone,” Grattan said. “Whether you are a mental health advocate or someone who struggles with mental health, you are important and people care about you.

I hope that everyone who attended today knows this and feels reassured.”

Grattan said she also hoped the display inspired people to start conversations.

“I also hope that promoting suicide awareness will facilitate the conversation around mental health and create change, just as we do,” Grattan said.

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