Last week we lost a fellow student to the tragedy of suicide. As our campus tries to understand what is confusing, cope with what is devastating and overcome what seems insurmountable, we must try to look to the future. Last week’s heartbreak was not an isolated incident. Each year, 1,100 college students commit suicide, the second leading cause of death in that age group, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association.
There are measures each of us can take to prevent another incident like this one at GW. We can all learn the signs of stress, depression and suicidal thoughts in others and ourselves. Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, study routines and social interactions can be indicators, as can lasting feelings of hopelessness, despair or restlessness. It’s not enough to recognize these signs, though. The second, and most important step, is to reach out and to seek help. Hopefully, in the near future, this step will be easier.
Students and the administration are working to make the University Counseling Center more accessible and affordable for all students. This would be one fewer barrier to students getting the help they need for better mental health. Until then, there are resources all around for those feeling depressed, alone or suicidal.
You wouldn’t sit around with a sinus infection for three months without getting antibiotics. Why wait to get help for your mental well-being? Remember to reach out. Remember to seek help.
Amanda Uhme the writer is the publicity chair of Active Minds at GW.