“Stigma causes shame, shame causes silence, silence hurts us all”
From the first time I read this, I was intrigued. Intrigued in a positive way for sure, but I couldn’t quite figure out why.
I joined Active Minds at the University of Maine just a couple weeks into my first semester. Almost instantly I felt connected to our mission and the importance of ending stigma. Coincidentally, every year around the beginning of October, UMaine hosts a suicide prevention walk. Seeing as the walk’s purpose aligns so much with our mission, my chapter always gets involved by walking as a team, helping to advertise, volunteering, or all of the above. So during my freshman year, just weeks into being an Active Minds member, I was volunteering with my chapter setting up and get ready for walkers to arrive when someone informed us that the bead necklaces that they make available for participants to wear were out. The beads, which they call honor beads, use different colors to signify your connection to the cause: Blue means you support the cause, purple means you’ve lost a friend to suicide, orange means you lost a sibling, green means you’ve personally struggled, etc. We proceeded to each put on a blue one and a few people grabbed a purple one, too.
So much is happening as our movement kicks into high gear for Suicide Prevention Month (Sept 10 – Oct 3) to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.
Bottom line: all of us can help prevent suicide. Check out the ten ways you can act today at: http://www.activeminds.org/suicide-prevention-month-2016
You’ll also see on that page examples of what Active Minds’ 400+ college chapters are doing on their campuses to spread awareness as widely as possible.
Together we are making a powerful statement of healing, hope, and help.
Hannah Metzger is a former member of Active Minds at West Chester University and is currently serving as a summer intern for the Active Minds Speakers Bureau.
The transition into college is rarely a quick and easy one to make. You go from the comfort of your hometown and people you’ve known for years to a very different environment full of strangers and new things to explore. It’s difficult to find a new group of friends, or a place that feels comfortable for you to express yourself. Even if you stay close to home, as I did, it’s still a huge difference from the daily routine you mastered in high school. Because of this transition, many people struggle with mental health issues that may have not been present before.
Though I had experienced some issues with anxiety and depression in the past, nothing could have prepared me for the storm of emotions that was brewing and coming my way.
As always, I was anxious during the first week of classes and feeling overwhelmed with all of the work I was going to be expected to complete over the semester. Had it not been for the support from my mom, I still think I may have dropped out that week and let the anxiety win. She kept a firm hand on my shoulder and led me through the next few weeks. All the while, I tried to hold my head high, maintain my composure, and make daily life as bearable as possible. Continue Reading
Today is officially the end of Active Minds Suicide Prevention Month, which means it’s also the end of our #ReasonsISpeak social media campaign. Thank to you, over 1,000 incredibly powerful posts were shared on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook.
Keep reading for some of my favorite #ReasonsISpeak posts and continue sharing your own! We need to speak out every day of the year, not just during Suicide Prevention Month.
Just one last thing from me: If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call 800-273-TALK or text “BRAVE” to 741-741.
This post is part of a Suicide Prevention Month blog series. Read the other blogs here.
Like Pablo’s story? You can bring him to your campus to speak about mental health. Learn more here.
I’m reminded of the #ReasonsISpeak on a daily basis. My recovery requires it. I didn’t ask to go through what I went through, but I am doing my best to make the most of it now.
Having kept quiet for so long about my attempt, addiction, and recovery while also having screamed incoherent pleas at the world, I have finally found myself in a position to help others.
I share my story because I feel like I owe it to everyone who suffers quietly, for those that do not find themselves in a position to speak and those who need hope in their lives. I have felt the isolation of depression and addiction. I speak in hopes of helping others through that feeling of isolation. I want everyone to know they are not alone in this, and that recovery and healing really truly is possible.
Suicide Prevention Month is finally here and that means #ReasonsISpeak is, too! We want YOU to share a post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram) about why you speak out about suicide.
Even though the campaign just officially launched, #ReasonsISpeak posts have been pouring in already. See below for some inspiration and post your own!
Here at the Active Minds National Office, we’re gearing up for a busy semester that kicks off with Suicide Prevention Month (September 10 – October 5). Once again this year, we’re hosting a #ReasonsISpeak social media campaign during this important month to raise awareness of suicide and encourage others to share their stories.
You might remember the campaign from last year: All we ask is for users to post why they speak out about suicide and add #ReasonsISpeak. Some folks like to write their message on a sign and post a picture of it; others like to write their message directly on social media. We love both options — because both of them mean we’re stamping out stigma!
The campaign will officially kick off on September 10, but we wanted to give our great supporters (that’s you!) a special heads up so you can spread the word. Here are a few ways you can tell others about #ReasonsISpeak in the weeks leading up to the campaign’s launch:
Throughout Suicide Prevention Month, we asked you to share on social media with us the reasons you speak about suicide prevention, using #ReasonsISpeak. Stigma fighters, you showed your power, and we loved the responses we saw.
Thank you for sharing your stories, hope and strength with us. When we make noise and when we speak out, we silence stigma. We couldn’t do it without you. Keep up the great work.
This Suicide Prevention Month, we’ve been encouraging you all to share with us your #ReasonsISpeak photos. Together, we’re forming a community where no one is afraid to speak out about suicide or mental health.
Inspired by your posts, the Active Minds Staff wants to show you why we speak out to raise awareness of suicide.
“Because together we can make something beautiful out of our pain. We have the power to build each other up.” — Robyn Suchy, Administrative Assistant