Student Organization Raises Suicide Awareness by Planting Flags

Black and red flags dotted the lawn in front of the Student Union Wednesday morning to raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide on college campuses.

This is the second year that MTSU’s chapter of To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit organization devoted to “providing hope” to those struggling with mental illness or thoughts of suicide, has put on a “black flag day.”

The event coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day and National Suicide Prevention Week.

“All these black flags out here represent the 1,100 college students who die from suicide every year,” said TWLOHA representative Teagan Hitt, a senior at MTSU in Concrete Management. “The orange flags represent somebody who walked by and knew somebody who committed suicide, so we’ll put up a flag in memory of that person.”

In the four hours since Hitt had set up that morning, roughly 20 red flags had been placed in the Commons by students.

“People who have lost someone to suicide, or know someone that attempted, they’ll know that people are thinking about them,” Hitt said of the organization.

According to TWLOHA literature, 90 percent of college students who commit suicide have mental illnesses, with 60 percent having severe depression. Only 10 percent, however, have been treated for clinical depression.

“You just feel like there’s no hope, and you’ll never get better,” said Hitt. “We give hope.”

The MTSU Counseling Services office is located in room 329 of the Keathley University Center, and can be reached by phone at 898-2670.

TWLOHA’s MTSU Chapter has scheduled meetings every Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in room S339 of the Business and Aerospace Building. The chapter can also be contacted through its Facebook page.

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To contact news editors Daniel Jansouzian and Max Smith, email newseditors@mtsusidelines.com

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