It has come to our attention that there is an issue among our students that seems to be more and more prevalent with each year. With broken hearts, we have become aware of the depressed state that an increasing number of students are finding themselves in. This issue became unignorable with the recent passing of a beloved, fellow student. There have also been attempted suicides in Scanlon Hall during the school year. While some of these near tragedies were said to be the results of accidental overdoses, the intentional and improper use of drugs alludes to a sentiment of dissatisfaction with life or a searching even if death wasn’t intended.
There are many factors that encourage individuals to contemplate taking their own life. Some of these factors are exacerbated on college campuses, making universities a likely place for mental illness. Two of these factors are anxieties and loneliness. As the pressure of the semester builds, it can make students more vulnerable to dangerous thoughts. On top of that, many of our students do not have their family and hometown friends close by as they attend school, leaving them more susceptible to loneliness. This can be especially true for freshmen who have not been away from home before.
Depression is increasing nationwide. While the loss of those we love hurts because of their absence in our life, there is an additional layer of grief that must be processed when our loved one is taken through suicide. This grief is the result of knowing that they had been hurting so deeply while they were alive.
This is why we should be searching to help those who are around us right now. Pay close attention to those around you. If you notice that something seems off, lovingly ask them about it. Be ready to be a sympathetic listener if someone you know takes the time to express something to you. Just having someone to open up to can make a huge difference in the life of someone who’s struggling. As they do so, be careful to keep your discussion confidential, but never a secret. You need to encourage them to share with someone who is qualified to help them, and—if they don’t—you need the right to share with someone to get them help without betraying a sense of trust.
There are many ways that someone might seek help, including spiritual advisors and sharing with family, but one university service you can give your friends is the Missouri Western Counseling Center. The center is free of charge to current students and can be a safe place for someone to receive needed help. If someone does disclose to you that they are struggling, make sure to check back in with them to ensure that they received the help they needed.
Finally, as the pain of loss and hurt is felt by our student body, make sure that you are getting the help you need. You cannot be a support to others if you are in a bad spot yourself. Sometimes the loads others entrust to you can be burdensome. There are others that would love to help you bare those loads. While some on the news staff are praying and others send good thoughts, we all wish for healing for our fellow students at MWSU as we move forward.