Active Minds hosts Empty Chair Display

Active Minds held its annual Empty Chair Display on Sept. 27 in an effort to raise awareness for suicide.

The display consisted of 20 chairs lined up outside the marketplace. In total, the chairs represented 1,100 college students who are lost to suicide each year.

Each chair displayed information relating to suicide such as statistics, personal stories and ways to help.

President of Active Minds, social work senior Shelby Spangler, explained the purpose of the event.

“Each chair represents 55 students that take their lives each year,” she said. “We do this every year to raise awareness for suicide. Having an event like this provides a place where students can openly talk to us about the topic.”

Treasurer of Active Minds, criminal justice major Miranda Selph, emphasized the uniqueness of the display.

“A big factor of the event is the visual part of it: the statistics, the stories, and seeing what these people have gone through,” she said. “Seeing how often [suicide] happens can really shine light on how severe it is. People keep sweeping it under the mat and it really needs to be brought to the plate.”

A few of the E-Board members from the mental health-based RSO held a table sit during the event, offering resources and education to those passing by.

“We have resources out for students, such as the national helpline number and the SVSU Mental Health and Wellness Center information,” Spangler said.

Spangler pointed out that this event is held annually in honor of Suicide Awareness Month.

“September is Suicide Awareness Month, so we like to hold the event to bring more light and awareness to the topic,” she said.

Spangler hopes that the event lets people know that it’s okay to ask for help, and resources and support are available.

“I feel like this is something that people don’t want to talk about, so they pretend that it’s not happening,” she said. “Suicide is definitely a huge issue in this country that needs a lot more attention to it, so we like to do this event to show it’s okay to talk about it and it’s okay to ask for help.”

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