NEWARK, Ohio, February 23, 2017 – Each year approximately 1100 college students take their own life. This statistic made the members of Active Minds, a Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark student organization that focuses on breaking the stigma and spreading awareness about mental illness/health, organize a Suicide Awareness Week from Feb. 13 – Feb. 17.
“It is an important topic that has an unfortunate but huge presence on college campuses everywhere,” said Active Minds President Hunter Spittler. “We wanted to show the impact suicide has on college campuses and make sure people know about available resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and counseling services on campus.”
The week included a display of 110 yellow ribbons that hung in the lobby of the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center. Each ribbon represented 10 college students who have committed suicide. Members of the organization handed out positivity flyers, yellow ribbon goodie bags and semi-colon temporary tattoos.
“The semi-colon is a commonly used symbol when it comes to suicide awareness because it represents the idea that a person’s story could have ended but it didn’t,” said Spittler.
The organization coordinated the placement of labels with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number on to coffee cups used by the Bean Counter, the Warner Center’s coffee shop. Also, students were encouraged to write positive messaging on white boards located in the Warner Center.
Lastly, Campus Mental Health Counselor David Wirt conducted a REACH Training that was free and open to the public on Feb. 16. REACH is The Ohio State University Suicide Prevention training program designed to help the Ohio State community prevent suicide by teaching people how to: recognize warning signs, engage with empathy, ask directly about suicide, communicate hope and help suicidal individuals to access care and treatment.
Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors.