Havas Chicago Placed a Casket in Its Lobby During Suicide Prevention Week

In the U.S., a person dies by suicide every 11 minutes

Havas Chicago's lobby transformed into a funeral home during National Suicide Prevention Week as a sobering reminder that every 11 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.

"The idea for the '11 Minutes Funeral Home' stemmed from our commitment to driving vital conversations about suicide prevention," Will Russell, senior strategist at Havas, tells Muse. "We recognized that while many in the U.S. avoid difficult discussions, these very conversations have life-saving potential. We sought to craft a memorable and bold initiative that would underscore the weight of our collective silence and make a lasting impression."

The casket was filled with 33,000 remembrance cards, symbolizing the number of lives lost to suicide in 2023. A nearby countdown clock reset every 11 minutes, and a new card was added.

Outside the office, a hearse delivered this message to passersby: "The decision to talk about suicide is easier than the decisions you have to make if you don't."

"The stark challenges of organizing a funeral, such as selecting caskets or drafting obituaries, are incomparably more difficult than starting a conversation about someone's mental health," says Russell. "We hope to inspire more open dialogues, normalize discussions around suicide prevention, and ultimately save lives by recognizing the signs and supporting those in need."

Inside the lobby were statistics (suicide is the second leading cause of death for kids 10-13 years old, for example), and information about resources to get help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline operates 24/7.

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