Field of memories: raising awareness for Suicide Prevention Month

Field of memories: raising awareness for Suicide Prevention Month

By Ariel Butler 

In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, CI’s Active Minds Club partnered with the Psychology Club to host a display of 1,100 memorial flags. These flags represent, honor and remember the 1,100 college students lost to suicide each year. The exhibit will remain in place for one week from Sept. 21 through Sept. 28. The flags are located on the lawn of John Spoor Broome Library.  Throughout the week, students and other campus members can visit the exhibit and write down a name to honor someone lost to suicide. Words and messages may also be written and placed with the exhibit. 

Anyone on campus can engage with the memorial exhibit. Ayleen Trejo, a third-year psychology and political science major and President of the Active Minds Club, explained how students can interact: “We have been tabling throughout this whole week, and while we’re tabling we provide sharpies where they can write a name or a message on the white flags.”  

Photo by Christopher Ringor

The goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness for the high number of college students that commit suicide each year. Suicide is among the top causes of death of college students in the United States. The organizers of the exhibit hope that the white flags will spread the message that mental health issues are prevalent among students and that support is necessary and available. 

Trejo shared that “by exhibiting the 1,100 white flags, people are able to see the prevalent issues of depression and anxiety, as well as the other mental health issues that students face.” 

Trejo acknowledged the need to “create a safe space on campus where students can feel validated” along with the importance of destigmatizing mental illness as two main ways to raise awareness and to also address mental health issues among students. 

The creators of the exhibit also set out to make known the many resources available to students struggling with mental health. CI Counseling and Psychological Services is available for students to speak with mental health professionals and for crisis services.  

More information and access to appointments can be found here: https://www.csuci.edu/caps/. Additionally, the Ventura County crisis line is available at the number 1-866-998-2243. Beginning in 2022, a state-wide mental health hotline will open, allowing callers to reach crisis centers by dialing 9-8-8. More information on the California hotline can be found here: https://www.cbs8.com/article/news/local/new-mental-health-hotline-coming-to-california-in-2022/509-8b76a7d3-927d-4257-bd47-62a30b5f665b

The Active Minds Club and Psychology Club hope that their weeklong exhibit of remembrance will start an open conversation about mental health and empower students struggling with their mental health to access the resources available to them. 

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