Active Minds walks for suicide awareness

Members of Active Minds participate in the Suicide/Depression Walk around campus on Friday night.

By Laura England
Special to the Tribune

To conclude Mental Health Awareness Week, student group Active Minds sponsored the second annual Suicide/Depression Walk on Friday.

Active Minds, which raises awareness about mental illness, has previously held the week in September, but organizers decided to postpone it this year to coincide with National Survivors of Suicide Day on Nov. 21.

The new date put the event less than a week after freshman Andrew Siebenaler, a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, took his own life in his McCormick Hall room late Saturday night.

Jenna McGrath, a junior in the College of Communication and publicity representative for Active Minds, said, “Each day during the week we had yoga or a coffee talk so we were hoping for a good turnout.”

At the beginning of the walk, fifty students joined members of Active Minds outside Lalumiere Language Hall for an information session about suicide and depression. The group walked east to 12th Street, west to 16th Street, and finished at St. Joan of Arc Chapel. There, participants gathered for a luminary ceremony led by Active Minds’ co-president Danielle Strauss.

In an interview, Strauss stressed “how important it is for all students to be aware of any mental disorder that there is, to not treat others any differently by what they may be facing and to make sure they welcome everyone and treat them in a positive way.”

In its second year, Active Minds has an all-new executive board, and is planning several events for the coming semester.

The group, which is sponsored by the Counseling Center, aims to break the stigma of mental illness and encourage people to feel comfortable talking about struggles with mental health.

Group members emphasized that those who are in need of help should know they are never alone.