Photo and story by Kristi Jones / Contributing Writer
MTSU’s S.P.A.R.E — Student Programming and Raider Entertainment — brought light to a dark topic that affects so many. To kick off Suicide Prevention Awareness month, SPARE held their annual flag event, on Monday, in the Student Union Commons.
There were 550 black flags placed in the commons, one for every two college students that lose their lives to suicide annually, according to the National Institute of Health. Red flags were given out so that anyone could write a message of hope, or their name or the name of someone who has been affected by suicide.
The organization had pamphlets and information about suicide prevention and where to find and get counseling services on campus available at the event.
“Even if people do not feel comfortable putting out a red flag, they can still take what they need or what others need. We’ve had a lot of people come pick up things for friends,” said Abigail Stapler, a senior in the College of Media and Entertainment and social awareness manager for SPARE.
This event is put on in an effort to show how much of an impact suicide can cause on a college campus and within a community. The flags in the ground make it possible to express the number of how many lives suicide takes every year in a tangible way.
“This is only half of the actual number (of suicides) and there are so many out there. It really makes people just stop and actually visualize, ‘cause it is hard to visualize when you don’t know what it looks like.” Stapler said.
“Basically, we just feel like this cause is something really important to us, so SPARE does something every year for part of our social awareness so that we make sure that we’re getting (the message) out there,” Stapler added.
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