MTSU’s SPARE hosts annual suicide prevention ‘Flag Event’

Photo and story by Davida Johnson / Contributing Writer

On Monday, MTSU’S SPARE, or Student Programming and Raider Entertainment, started their week of suicide awareness events as a part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with their annual “Flag Event” in the Student Union Atrium.

SPARE members and organizers provided 1,100 black flags to represent the 1,100 people who have committed suicide this year in Tennessee alone. Red flags were provided as well for students to write down names of those they have lost to suicide or those who have attempted suicide.

“Basically we’re encouraging people to come by and write messages of hope on the red flags or the names of someone in their life – or their own name – who has been touched by suicide,” said Jordan Nickell, an MTSU senior and member of SPARE. “Our goal by the end of the day is to have more red flags with messages of hope than black flags.”

“We are also providing information and resources out to people in case they or someone in their life might need it,” Nickell added.

The events don’t stop on Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, SPARE will be showing a documentary called “The Ripple Effect.” The film is about Kevin Hines, who was only 19 years old when he tried to take his life by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. He survived, and now he tries to help others who contemplate suicide as a mental-health advocate.

SPARE will also be taking a group photo on Thursday in the Student Union Building for those wearing purple and turquoise, which are the suicide awareness colors, to promote the cause. According to pamphlets provided by SPARE, suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. Around 1,100 college students commit suicide every year. If you or someone you know has been having thoughts of suicide, you can visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here for help.

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