Active Minds holds empty chair display to raise suicide awareness across campus

Thirteen vacant chairs have been arranged to symbolize the over one-thousand students who are absent due to suicide. Each chair represents about 85 students.
Vanguard Photographer | Anna Alexander

Mental health based RSO, Active Minds, held the Empty Chair Display on Sept. 20. The event included a display of chairs and a table sit outside of the Marketplace to raise awareness for suicide as students and staff walked by.

Current president of Active Minds, Jaime McArthur, a Junior student Majoring in Criminal Justice and psychology, spoke about the impactful display.

“The 13 chairs represented 85 students each. This totals to around 1,100 students who pass by suicide annually.” McArthur said.

Next to the visual of the chairs, passersby’s could view information about suicide including statistics, warning signs, risk factors and survivor stories. The members of Active Minds who were present at the table sit offered information sheets and stickers to those who stopped by.

Along with the educational component, McArthur hopes the event provided a chance for students to think more deeply about the topic.

“We hope that this event allows students a moment to pay their respects to those who struggled through their mental health journey,” she said. “There is a misperception that suicide means a person has passed away, but passive suicidal ideation is more prevalent than ever.”

Secretary of Active Minds, Jillian Inman, Secondary Education sophomore, was also present at the table sit. Inman shared her passion for the event.

“For me this event is really important just because it helps you actually see how [suicide] impacts college campuses and helps you to learn how you can prevent that as well,” Inman said. “I hope it helps people understand the perspective of people who struggle with suicide and learn about the ways they can help prevent suicide.”

Active Minds is striving to remind students that the RSO and various other resources in the SVSU community are available and equipped to help.

“We want students to know that there are resources available, from SVSU’s Mental Health and Wellness Center with professional resources, Active Minds with peer resources, and the Lotus room for peace and quiet,” McArthur said.

The mental health based RSO is looking forward to hosting a variety of events this semester to increase awareness of mental health issues, educate the community, and provide an environment for students to openly discuss mental health related topic.

Students can join the group for upcoming events throughout the semester such as tie-dye, rock painting, mental health week, and more.

Two members of the RSO help with the event.
Vanguard Photographer | Anna Alexander

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