Yellow flags for Suicide Prevention Month

Flags outside Building 4 setup by Active Minds are reminders of suicide prevention

Flags outside Building 4 setup by Active Minds are reminders of suicide prevention

If you were around Building 4 at all in September, you probably saw the yellow flags display presented by DMACC club Active Minds.

Each flag represented a student who had committed suicide. Each year there are around 1,100 students who commit suicide in the United States, according to the Center of Disease Control. It is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10-24 in Iowa.

Active Minds is a relatively new club on the DMACC campus; Ronn Newby is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the Active Minds adviser. The club was started in November 2015.

“We try to create awareness for mental health, although it is not a support group,” Newby said. “It’s more for bonding and developing friendships. We want to bring suicide to the forefront, because it’s a hush hush topic. Suicide, yes it does happen but there is help.”

Active Minds currently has about 40 members and normally meets once a month. According to the Active Minds website, the club “focuses on changing the way students address mental health and giving voice to important issues.”

“We’re just trying to bring awareness to mental health,” Newby said. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Iowa is one of three states that made severe cuts to mental health funding in the last few years.  A recent survey by the NAMI shows Iowa ranking in the bottom five of all states in every category of mental health programs and services. Newby said people should talk about the subject instead of pushing it under the rug.

Active Minds also got David Romano, a mental health advocate, to speak at the Ankeny campus during September to raise awareness about depression and self-harm. The club also hosted the 22 Pushup Challenge. It raised awareness for veterans suicide; 22 veterans a day commit suicide. Active Minds also had The Darkness Project art work displayed in Building 3W representing different mental health disorders that college students face.

The club does not currently have any other events planned. It is not too late to get involved, if anyone is interested in joining the Active Minds club, email Ronn Newby at

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