The Cougar Chronicle

Yellow Pinwheel Project brings suicide awareness to students

Lauren Brown, News Reporter

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Presented by Student Health and Counseling Services and Active Minds, the Yellow Pinwheel Project raises awareness for college suicide victims. On Sept. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. stu- dents could observe more than 1,100 pinwheels in the Forum Plaza. Each yellow pinwheel commemorated a college student who lost their life to suicide.

 

Active Minds is an organization dedicated to educating the public about mental health and providing help to those who may struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. This year marks the third year Active Minds presented the Yellow Pinwheel Project on campus. In previous years the pinwheels were planted for a large display in the Forum Plaza, but due to construction on the lawn the 1,100 pinwheels were displayed in three boxes.

 

“The basis [of Active Minds at CSUSM] is college students advocating for the

mental health of college stu- dents,” said Armando Zaragoza, president of Active Minds.

 

Multiple tables were lined in the plaza, each with information pertaining to suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

 

The organizations running these booths included Active Minds at CSUSM, North County Health Services, Hope and Wellness Center and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services.

 

“We want people to know it’s OK to talk about mental health issues and we have resources about how to have difficult conversations,” Carli Thorstenson, a speaker with the San Diego Human Health and Services said. It’s important “to recognize the signs of depression and suicide and [how to] take care of yourself and your loved ones as well.”

 

The second half of the event entailed a screening of the film, Ripple Effect which was shown in the USU Ballroom at 6 p.m..

 

Ripple Effect is a film about Kevin Hines, a man who attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. The movie also touches on the effect the event had on himself and the

people around him. Preceding the screening was a 45 minute Q&A panel where multiple speakers were able to educate the audience on mental health.

 

“We invite our campus and community partners to provide resources and services to our students for their mental health, and we try to make the connection for students between depression and suicide ideation and suicidal attempts,” said Active Minds Advisor Cheryl Berry. “We know that 90 percent of individuals who have thoughts of suicide are usually those who may have a history of depression that’s been undiagnosed or untreated, so we want our students to be able to protect their mental health by knowing the signs of depression.”

 

For more information, students can visit the Active minds website https://www. csusm.edu/hope/active- minds/index.html .

 

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