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Marywood University marks National Suicide Prevention Month

The Field of Memories on Marywood's campus displays white flags to recognize the average number of U.S. college students who commit suicide each year.

DUNMORE, Pa. — Marywood University's Counseling and Student Development Center is taking part in National Suicide Prevention Month.

Hilary Furmanchin is a post-doctoral resident and wanted to bring their version of this event to Marywood called the "Field of Memories".  

"More and more students are either becoming directly affected by it, by experiencing some of these thoughts themselves, or know somebody who has struggled in the same way," said Furmanchin.

Counselors and volunteers placed 1,100 white flags on campus. The flags represent the average number of U.S. college students who die by suicide each year.

"Kind of take that step back and really recognize it because it's one thing to see a bunch of flags then when you know what that number actually means.  It kind of takes your breath away in a lot of ways," said Furmanchin.

Students and faculty walking by are encouraged to stop and write a name or a message of hope on any one of the flags.

"Especially now with social distancing, we're all kind of separate, but we really wanted to get students to come together in a safe way to show them that they're not alone and that we're here," continued Furmanchin.

The pandemic has changed how students are learning and coronavirus safety guidelines can make it difficult for counselors to connect with students who may be struggling.

"We are reaching out to students on Facebook and Instagram to let them know that we're here, we're doing other events virtually for them and that's one way that we're staying connected. Students also have the option to still see us in person for counseling."

Marywood University has other events scheduled to continue bringing awareness all month and you can find that information on their website here and events on their Facebook page.