On the second week of September (9/8-9/14), thousands of people around the nation come together to raise awareness of suicide prevention and take a moment to remember those who have lost their loved ones to suicide.
Doane University recognizes the importance of raising awareness to suicide and hosted a candlelight vigil ceremony in the Cassel open-air Theatre today.
The event was coordinated by Doane's own mental health counselor Krystal Flaming, as well as Catie Welty (Junior) who is the President of Active Minds.
Students around campus, whether they have or haven’t been personally affected by suicide, attended the candlelight vigil ceremony. A platform was offered to those who wanted to speak about their experiences with suicide as well as give recognition to anyone whom they might have lost to suicide.
JJ Iltz (Junior) attended the ceremony and shared his reason for attending today’s event. “I came today because a close friend of mine has been having a lot of suicidal thoughts and I wanted to learn more about what I can do to help or what resources are open for him.”
To conclude the ceremony, sixty seconds of silence was honored to those who have completed suicide. “We want to honor the people that we love that have died by suicide and there’s a grieving process that goes along with that,” said Flaming.
Flaming opened up about a close friend who recently lost his life to suicide and shared her reason for hosting such a meaningful event. As Flaming states, “I think it's important to remember anyone who has died in our life because that’s a part of the mourning process.”
Students around campus, such as Catie Welty, take action to promote a safe space to openly talk about personal struggles with suicide.
Welty explains “it’s important to hold events like this in order to have a space for people that feel like they can share the story if they want to or know that supported even if they don't share.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts and are in need of immediate help, please do not hesitate to contact Doanes mental health councelor Krystal Flaming or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (available 24 hours a day) 1-800-373-8255.