Flags On The Quad: Moravian Observes Suicide Awareness Month

Photograph+by+Sam+Gallagher

Photograph by Sam Gallagher

Every year in the United States, more than 1,000 college students take their own lives. 

According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers and college students. Stress, lack of support, impulsivity, poor coping skills, and substance use, are all contributing factors. 

To draw attention to suicides on campus, college and universities around the world observe National Suicide Prevention Week. This year’s observation took place the week of September 6. This week is for students to support anyone who is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts and to get them professional help. 

Recognizing that one week is not enough, Moravian College joins other schools in dedicating all of September as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. 

Throughout September, Moravian’s Counseling Center planted yellow flags on the Academic Quad, each flag representing a college student who took their own life. 

The flags were also intended to grab students’ attention and raise their awareness about how many students just like them commit suicide — and to indicate that the College can help those who are struggling. 

First-year student Avery Bailey walked by the flags  every day and was moved. 

‘[They were] not only a reminder to be an advocate for mental health, but also that help is available,” she said. “I know that if I was struggling with that I think the flags would be a nice reminder that things can get better.”

Jordan Vargo, another first-year student, agreed that planting the flags served a vital goal. “[Suicide among college students] is an issue,” she said. “I know a lot of young adults that have been severely depressed or anxious to the point where they have considered harming themselves or taking their own life. I believe that there is no such thing as doing too much regarding suicide prevention/awareness.”

Discussing suicide, or hearing about others who contemplate harming themselves, never has enough attention. Bringing awareness this way into the Moravian community is the best way to bring up the issue of suicide to college students.  

Incorporating students’ opinions on the yellow flags and seeing how encouraging and inspiring it is moves the Moravian community into providing ways of helping students heal. 

Located in eastern Pennsylvania, Moravian has many opportunities to support students in regards to suicide prevention. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is an organization in the Lehigh Valley that does not hesitate to assist students.

Seeking assistance is never easy, but it is always the best option. 

If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, please contact The Counseling Center for help. To schedule an appointment, call 610-861-1510 or email the Center at [email protected]