As we pulled onto campus and met with the chapter officers, we were excited to hear that the location they had picked was in one of the most high traffic areas on campus. With the help of the local Active Minds chapter, student volunteers, and other community advocates like Bob Sleepy from Nuci Space, we began setting up with 1,100 backpacks.
It didn’t take long to get grab the attention of passerby’s as the local news began covering the event during set-up. The questions started rolling in from students and faculty and we were excited to start answering the. It’s always a great opening to the event when we get a chance to start off the display with curious and enthusiastic students that want to know why we’re on campus. It sets a great tone for the day, and UGA was no different—we interacted with thousands of students during the day.
With so many conversations, we naturally had a lot of visitors sharing their experience and history with mental health (whether it be themselves or someone in their life) in our traveling journal. You hear so much from us on this blog, so we thought it’d be a good time to share a few comments that visitors left in the journal throughout the day.
“I usually feel so alone. It’s nice to see this around campus”
As a former victim of depression and suicidal thoughts, it really makes me feel relieved to know that this display exists. Thank you.”
“Freshman year I went through a rough first semester. Whether it was homesickness or stress or having no one I knew around (perhaps a combo of everything), I fell into a depression that almost cost me my place in UGA & everything. Luckily I was able to pull through with some new found friends who helped me and my sister. Whatever happens, know that you are stronger than what it hitting you and you WILL make it through. Awesome display. Much love and support.”
“Thanks for being here. Sometimes I just need to talk.”
“I have struggled with mental illness for most of my life—manic depression, anxiety, bulimia. If I had ended it at the worst point, I would have missed out on the greatest joys of my life.”
“This hits really close to home—one of my very close friends recently attempted suicide. Knowing there are groups out here makes me feel reassured. It’s wonderful to know that help is around and that people are listening.”
“I suffered from a major depression for years. I remember being suicidal since the age of 9. I finally got help 2 years ago. Talking about it changes everything.”
“This display really affected me. I was trying to hold back tears while reading the stories about suicide victims written by their surviving family and friends. This is an issue close to my heart as I have had personal experience between myself and people very close to me struggling with being suicidal. I am only alive today because a friend convinced me to go to my psychiatrist and voluntarily be committed to a hospital on suicide watch. I have supported friends and been supported by them to keep each other alive no matter what. Support and communication are essential to survival. I’m so glad that Active Minds has this display to raise awareness. Too many are silent out of fear. We need to show them that it is okay and things can get better.”