September: Suicide Awareness Month & Active Minds

By: Rachel Gonzalez | Contributor

Taking care of mental health and reaching out to loved ones is a top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected everyone in some shape or form. For many students at South, it has been a challenge to adapt to the new changes the pandemic has posed, but many find ways to cope. 

Marie Raby, a nursing student, takes walks every afternoon to help with entrapment and anxiety feelings. 

“Staying with a routine and giving myself tasks to stick with every day has helped also,” she explained. 

Other students agree with the feeling of anxiousness and loneliness. Tatyana Taylor, a senior and Active Minds officer, has been coping by hanging out with a small group of friends and connecting with family through text and social media. 

Zoom has also been affecting students’ mental health. Whether students like or dislike Zoom, it can have a positive effect on mood as well. 

“When it comes to Zoom, I’m personally not a fan because I prefer to see my teacher in person, but the teaching methods have been pretty effective,” Taylor said. 

According to an article by Psychology Today, the ability to connect with others in real-time “facilitates a sense of purpose and meaning which is fundamentally beneficial to coping with crisis and trauma.” On the other hand, traditional instruction and being physically surrounded by classmates has been shown to strengthen communication skills in ways that cannot be done through Zoom alone. 

Active Minds, South’s mental health organization,  also faced its share of challenges proceeding with annual activities; however, it will continue to hold meetings via Zoom. In the near future, Active Minds is considering partnering with Outdoor Adventures, so that members can enjoy physical activities like kayaking and hiking, all while bonding but still socially distancing. 

Caring for mental health is a year-round job. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and many organizations are stepping in to bring awareness to such an important topic. The Baldwin County chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will have its third annual “Light in the Darkness” Suicide Awareness Walk on Thursday, Sept. 24. Active Minds hopes to host a virtual walk soon, with details posted in the near future.

There are various resources available online for students to reach out to, such as the university’s Counseling and Testing Services (CTS) and Active Minds, which is welcoming to all students, especially during this difficult time that everyone is going through. 

To get in touch with Active Minds via email: mlp606@jagmail.southalabama.edu.

To schedule an appointment with Counseling and Testing Services, call: (251) 460-7051.