Posted on: September 4, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

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By Nick Stulga, Editor-in-Chief

Despite more openness about mental health in general, the topic of suicide is still kept in the shadows. TikTok users must use the word “unalive” instead, to prevent the algorithms from banning their content. Twitter users have cleverly disguised the word with numbers and punctuation to avoid the same fate and put up trigger warnings before their tweets.

While these practices may help people avoid trauma, they may very well be stigmatizing suicide during a time where it’s more important to talk about than ever.

Lifting that stigma is one of the purposes of Moraine Valley events being held on campus this week in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week.

On Tuesday at 11 a.m., the documentary “Each and Every Day” will be shown in the MV library. The film chronicles young people’s battles with suicidal thoughts and how they were able to overcome them. The film will be followed by a discussion on suicide prevention between MV counselors and the attendees.

The second event involves an interactive display called “Be the One,” which will be featured in the U building Tuesday through Thursday and at Fall Fest outside on Thursday.

“We will invite students to write on sheets that are posted for how they could be the one to make a difference in building the kind of community where people feel it’s okay to say something and get support,” said Moraine counselor Sara Levi.

On Wednesday, “Be the One” will take the form of a discussion in room U211 to explore the “often silent experiences of those who have lost someone to suicide, attempt survivors, and people with suicidal thoughts.”

Counselor Shanya Gray said the best advice for getting support is to understand you are not alone and to reach out to others for help.

“We’re all human beings, and we all will suffer with both physical and mental health issues throughout our life. It’s just normal, we’re not perfect. Don’t feel ashamed,” Gray tells students struggling with mental health issues. “Don’t feel as though you are the only one. There are a lot of people who struggle. But know there’s help.”

The Thursday event is a workshop in which Levi will talk through the “science behind why feeling seen and heard is incredibly important to being safe.” The workshop will take place in G110A at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Levi will give advice on how to use the need to be heard to “find stability” for ourselves and others during a moments of hardship.

According to Gray, the pandemic was one such moment of hardship, but one that made us stronger in communicating about mental illness.

“I think the pandemic has allowed us that space to be able to more openly have conversations and reduce the stigma of mental illness,” Gray says.

The “collective trauma” that we were burdened with during the pandemic allowed more people to feel the effects of “the swift change and the loss” the pandemic brought with it, she says.

Within these conversations, Gray says we shouldn’t feel any guilt talking about mental health issues.

The event this week will explore some of the ways you can reach out to support those suffering from mental health and support yourself.