SSU exhibit raising awareness


By Joseph Pratt - [email protected]



An art exhibit in the Verne Riffe Center for the Arts is hoping to make a difference in suicide awareness.

An art exhibit in the Verne Riffe Center for the Arts is hoping to make a difference in suicide awareness.


Joseph Pratt | Daily Times

Fictional characters have a big impact on people and the world around us, whether it is your favorite character in a book or a movie you just can’t shake.

Shawnee State University is recognizing those who have struggled with mental illness, and, specifically suicide, through a new exhibit created by composition and rhetoric graduate Erin Rice and Professor Dr. Sean Dunne.

The exhibit is in recognition of Shawnee State’s Suicide Prevention Week and will remain in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts Appleton Gallery through the week of September 5.

“Dr. Dunne and I were talking about various fictional characters and how they impact college students. He was talking about how band patches were popular when he was in college and he is interested now that the shift has gone towards stickers for videogames, comic books, and things like that,” Rice explained. “We were discussing how they affect students and it led to the mental health topic.”

Dunne sent Rice on a mission of researching fictional characters who committed suicide and the student turned out 48 names and selected 36 to showcase.

“I learned, very quickly, that there are a lot more characters who have committed suicide than I even realized, because I thought the task was going to be difficult, but I found myself with too many,” Rice explained. “It is so interesting, because, across all of the mediums, we have video games, plays, television shows; it is just interesting to see so much representation in so many mediums.”

One of the names that stuck out to Rice was Geralt of Rivia from Witcher 3, due to the story that followed him and his death being a result from character choices players make throughout the game.

Rice explained that the suicides showcased vary for different reasons, from the impact of a loss to a sacrificial move, but she did find a common theme amongst those studied.

“I would say that, for a lot of them, love was a common factor. One way or another, it played a role. We have people who lost love, which is a whole category of itself. We also have characters who died by sacrifice or a life-altering event, which usually had to do with love in some way, shape or form,” Rice went on to explain. “A lot of them had love underneath every other reason.”

Rice believes the exhibit is important and has a lesson for guests who visit to look over the informational posters.

“We have information from various professional organizations about mental health and where to get help, different resources, and things like that,” Rice said. “I think it is extremely important, because it is 2022 and mental health has made a lot of progress and it is difficult, especially in college, to even find where you can get help. Mental health is something everyone deals with, at one point or another, and it is important for people to realize it is okay to not be okay.”

An art exhibit in the Verne Riffe Center for the Arts is hoping to make a difference in suicide awareness.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/09/web1_thumbnail_SSUSuicideExhibit.jpgAn art exhibit in the Verne Riffe Center for the Arts is hoping to make a difference in suicide awareness. Joseph Pratt | Daily Times

By Joseph Pratt

[email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved