Organization raises awareness about college suicide rate

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COLUMBIA – More than one thousand t-shirts covered Kuhlman Court on MU's campus on Wednesday.

That's one for every college student who has died from suicide across the country.

Active Minds Mizzou put on the demonstration as part of its third annual "Shed the Silence" event.

Active Minds advisor Molly Litteken said the shirts put this national problem into perspective.

“These shirts show how big of a number that is,” Litteken said.

All the shirts collected will be donated to multiple charities.

Litteken said spreading awareness is necessary to combat mental illness.

“Sometimes we think there is a stigma around mental health, and we can’t talk about it, that’s our main focus is to talk about it,” Litteken said. “It’s okay to have a mental illness.”

MU Counseling Center assistant director Christy Hutton said the move to college for teens can create lots of stress.

“Adjustment to college can be a really dramatic shift in culture expectations. Students may start to flounder. They could develop coping skills,” Hutton said.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, depression affects 19 million American adults 18 and older each year. Common signs of depression include hopelessness, decreased interest in activities, low self-esteem, poor concentration, as well as other side effects that can be found here.

Hutton said she encourages any student who does not feel like themselves to reach out to the services provided by the University.

“We have a range of therapists that all work in different ways. We can help,” she said. “Asking for help is an act of courage.”

You can contact the MU Counseling Center and the Wellness Resources Center for help as well as calling the Missouri Crisis Line at 800-395-2132.

Active Minds holds a variety of fundraisers throughout the year, with a full list on its website.

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