As part of UNCG’s Fourth Annual Mental Health Month, a colorful array of pinwheels is being displayed on the Kaplan Commons (EUC Lawn) to symbolize the 1,100 college students across the nation who are lost to suicide each year.

The display will remain on the lawn through Sept. 14 and is one of several campus-wide initiatives aimed at promoting mental health awareness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among all Americans, and the risk is even higher for high school and college students. As of 2013, suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24.

“This is not a morbid display,” said Jamie Stephens, coordinator for outreach and peer education at The Wellness Center in Student Health Services. “This is just a way to raise awareness and encourage people to start speaking out.”

Aldrea Speight, a peer health educator and student assistant at The Wellness Center, wants her peers to simply be more aware.

“Our hope with this project is to help students understand that 80-90 percent of students don’t actually ask for help when it comes to feeling depressed or having feelings of suicide,” Speight said.

She wants students to know about the many on-campus resources, such as The Counseling Center, that are available to students struggling with mental health issues.

Speight said that students are very interested in learning more about what the pinwheels represent. “The more attraction we have, the more students we can reach and the more students we can help.”

For a complete list of Mental Health Month events, click here.


By Alyssa Bedrosian with Morgan Glover

Photography by Martin Kane