Bringing suicide “out of the darkness…”


Cory Kay, Assistant Features Assistant


Suicide, a major health problem that is often thought of as a taboo subject, is making its way to the forefront of discussion at CSUSM through Suicide Prevention Week.

With the help of community and campus partners, Active Minds, a student health organization at CSUSM, and Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) attempt to eliminate the taboo that surround suicide conversation and other stigmas about mental health by promoting a week of enlightenment and understanding.

SHCS Mental Health Educator Cheryl Berry described the night as an empowering and educating event that would work toward bringing suicide “out of the darkness and into the conversation to reduce stigma.” Berry also noted the importance of uniting CSUSM students with the national community on this day of awareness.

Suicide Prevention Week is a nationally recognized event that Active Minds brings forth to our campus. The event’s theme for this year is “Reaching Out and Saving Lives.”Active Minds teamed up with organizations like the University Student Union Activities Board (USUAB) and the band, PopRx, to engage students on Suicide Prevention Day, which was held on Sep. 10.

At this event, students could find some of  USUAB’s artistic displays such as  “Skateboards Against Suicide”, which will be exhibited in the health center, and the painting of a vibrant mural that reflects this year’s theme.

The main attraction of the occasion was PopRx. The band entertained the audience in the USU with covers of both classics and present-day hits. Most importantly though, the band paused every so often to talk about the significance of understanding how to access important resources and how to reach out to peers who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.

The lead vocalist of the group emphasized the importance of recognizing the signs of suicidal thoughts, shared bits of her own personal story and offered positive words of encouragement and support to audience members.

“I am more than my suicide attempt,” she said. “And I am here to be on stage with you tonight to open my heart and let you guys know that we are all human, and we all go through struggles. But I can have fun on this stage, because I am living my life happily.”

While the band did want to highlight the seriousness of the occasion, they also made sure to keep the event fun and lighthearted. The band opened their set with the hit  “Walking on Sunshine” to start the evening off on a positive note.

In order to tie this event in with communities across the country, PopRx also paused for a brief 8 p.m. candle-lighting ceremony and moment of silence. On this evening, participants of this occasion light candles and hold moments of silence to pay respects to those who  have been lost to suicide and to survivors of suicide loss.

This ceremony allowed the event to go beyond the CSUSM community; it united the university and its students with others by bringing to light  the topic of suicide throughout the nation.

Through engaging activities and ceremonies, Suicide Prevention Day at CSUSM brought the campus community one step closer to eliminating  stigmas of mental health and ridding the word “suicide” of its taboo status.