Auburn University students have tried throughout this week to connect with each other, their friends and strangers to promote mental health.
Mental health is an important topic in today’s changing world, especially with social media looming over everyone like a cloud.
Active Minds, an organization at Auburn that promotes mental health awareness, has been putting events on throughout the week with different themes, including offering “QPR” training, said Chase Chaplin, a junior at Auburn and member of Active Minds and the Be Well Hut.
“It’s almost like CPR for suicide,” Chaplin said. “It stands for Question, Persuade and Refer. So if you feel like someone may be having suicidal thoughts or feelings, you would question them. And then if they say ‘Yes, I am feeling this way,’ you would persuade them to get distracted, obviously to not die by suicide and then refer them out to the appropriate resources.”
On Monday, students were able to meet with counselors and service dogs on the Hayley Concourse.
“Send Silence Packing” was held Tuesday on the Campus Green Space. This annual event is mean to raise awareness of suicide in college students.
The green space was filled with backpacks, each of which represented someone who committed suicide. The backpacks had a laminated piece of paper explaining to whom the pack may have belonged.
This was sobering for those who looked over the hundreds of backpacks representing lives lost. “Seeing that many (backpacks) on such a large space was just jarring,” Chaplin said.
Events continued Wednesday and Thursday, with the goal of helping students feel more at ease discussing mental health and suicide prevention.
The Haley Concourse was full of games and prizes Wednesday to draw students in. Wellness Wednesday gave people a chance to meet the Health Promotion and Wellness office staff.
A Sound Mind wrapped up the week Thursday. A Sound Mind is Auburn’s new website listing all available mental health resources in one place.
“So you can find everything you need on this one website, so we’re promoting stress relieving and promoting this website so students are aware of the resources that Auburn offers,” said Gabrielle Mc-kinnell, president of Active Minds.
Auburn’s Be Well Hut wellness coaches and the Dream Team were all busy this week as well.
The Be Well Hut is often found on the concourse sharing information to keep students healthy with tips like wearing sunscreen when outside or making sure to get enough exercise.
The Dream Team was formed to help students know more about healthy sleeping patterns.
“There’s a lot of stigma around the topic of mental health, so we want to advertise it on such a public platform just so students know it’s OK to talk about mental health, because everyone has mental health, whether it’s good or bad health,” Mckinnell said.
“So we want to make them aware that it’s OK to talk about and there are people that are here for them.”