September is full of preparations for bubbling cauldrons and giggling goblins, but there are a few skeletons in the closet that surround this month and that need to be addressed. The month of September is nationally recognized as Suicide Awareness month, and although mental health is dedicated to another month, suicide and mental health both go hand in hand and to feed one monster is to feed the other indirectly. Going to a school as academically challenging as Missouri S&T can and will continuously wear down and deteriorate one’s mental health. Additionally, because of social stigmas, pride, and other factors, some students are not willing to reach out when they need help or do not know how to find help. Luckily, Missouri S&T offers many different outlets and resources for students who are struggling with mental illness, thoughts of harming themselves, or even students who are concerned about the well-being of their friends or colleagues.
The campus offers counseling services in which students can speak to professionals about problems they may be facing and students can go on any basis they choose (once a week, once a month, once a semester, etc). On top of counseling services, students have access to what is called a UCare report. This report is completely anonymous and can be filled out regarding yourself or another friend or colleague that a student is concerned about. Once the UCare report is filed, the school will contact the student who the UCare report was filed about and will reach out and offer services to aid in any way possible. The student will not know a UCare report was filed about them, nor will they be forced to attend counseling with the school.
When looking for an article to write this week I was not quite sure if I would actually write this story because mental health and suicide is still considered such a “taboo” topic. But at the end of the day, no matter how uncomfortable it makes people, it needs to be talked about. So rather than drone on and on about statistics regarding mental illness/ health and suicide I can talk about it from my experience and open up about my journey into accepting the help I needed. When I was at the end of my sophomore year (I am a current junior) I was really pushing myself hard and putting a significant amount of pressure on myself to do my best. I never felt like I was good enough and it really beat me down and tore me apart. This summer it kept eating at me that I was not the best I could be, and I stopped sleeping and I stopped eating. I was looking in the mirror and not recognizing the person that was staring back at me anymore. During this period, my relationship with my boyfriend, my parents, and my friends were really strained because I was too prideful and embarrassed to admit something was wrong and that I needed help. Then, one day in the shower I honestly thought that I wanted to die and in doing so it would make things so much easier and it would be so peaceful. I called my biggest support system in my life, my mom and dad, and they helped me reach out to my care provider and a therapist to get prescribed antidepressants and go to counseling once a week.
I know I am not an expert on mental health by any means, but there are so many people that love and care about you. You should never be embarrassed to ask for help because it takes so much inner strength to reach out when no one knows what you are going through. Thank you to everyone who has loved and supported me every step of the way, and let's end the stigma together.