Active Minds at OSU spreads awareness about mental health stigma
And so, I persist
If you walked through the Oval today, anytime from 7:30am until 4pm, you may have noticed a sea of backpacks dotting the lawn. If you didn’t have time to stop and speak to those running the event you may still find yourself wondering why they were there, and what these 1,100 backpacks were meant to signify.
The group responsible for the demonstration, Active Minds, is a national organization with the goal to empower students around the nation to change the perception of mental health on college campuses. This organization has different chapters all across the United States, including one here at Ohio State.
The event put on today was done in an effort to provide a physical representation of the number of college students lost to suicide each year. There were 1,100 backpacks placed on the Oval, each with a personal story attached to it, about a student who completed suicide. These stories gave a short blurb about each student’s life and included their picture. In this way, these individuals were no longer part of a statistic, but were represented as real people who deserve to have their story told.
Along with the physical representation, members of the Active Minds chapter at OSU gave students the chance to sign a pledge banner to help end the stigma associated with mental health. Students were encouraged to write hopeful messages to their friends in need as well. There was also a journal in which students could share their reactions and feelings about the event.
If you would like to get involved with Active Minds at Ohio State you can find more information on their Facebook page.