Two recent suicide investigations at UNC Chapel Hill, same weekend, leading to the school offering a Wellness Day- no classes for students, to check in with one another. But is that enough?
The school announced that in the coming weeks, they’ll roll out the Heels Care Network, promoting Mental Health Awareness. But is that enough?
UNC’s Chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz, in reaction to the news stated: “We’re in the middle of a mental health crisis, both on our campus & across the nation.” He’s absolutely right. But is his statement enough? Are others around the country – in our highest offices in government, in industry, in academia…are they also saying what the Chancellor just said about the crisis? Are they doing enough about it?
Sadly, the answer to both, is no.
I looked back at my timeline here. These little boxes we can reflect on & see what we’ve shared. I looked only at the boxes where I’ve shared news stories about suicides & overdoes of high profile figures or stories that gained national/global attention.
I didn’t even look at the MOUNDS of shares about the growing rates of mental health outcomes. Why? Because our authorities only seem to act when there’s tragedy. Look at this recent list:
Olivia Podmore – Olympic Cyclist from New Zealand, Colt Brennan – QB for Hawaii, A 14 year old at the Vessel in Hudson Yards in NYC which made national headlines, Phillip Adams – an NFL Player, Vincent Jackson – an NFL Player, Thomas Raskin – son of Congressman Jamie Raskin, Hilary Tisch – daughter of the NY Giants Owner, Tony Hsieh – founder of Zappos, Stanley Robinson – UConn Basketball Star, Tyler Skaggs – Pitcher for the Angels, Greg Eells – UPenn’s Head of Counseling, 4 NYPD Officer suicides in 3 wks, Eric Zaun – Pro Volleyball Star, a story abt how Las Vegas schools were forced to open- end of last yr due to the # of suicides happening w kids at home, a story abt 2020 overdose deaths jumping 20k over 2019 – to an all-time high in a single year.
WHEN will enough be enough – that the powers that be in this country declare what the Chancellor did: we have a MH CRISIS. When will we see real policy change & a focused approach? What more tragedy must happen?
I’m usually not one to just throw up my arms and complain, if you’ve followed here. I believe that complaining without ideas for action is most often fruitless. Where this is different – is that EVERY sign indicates that we have a crisis on our hands – one that isn’t going anywhere.
When this pandemic “ends” – we don’t just put that trauma behind us, and that’s by far not the only things that’s been plaguing our society. The pandemic has put a spotlight on the problem, but the growing trends existed way before and will continue way after.
We don’t just need public figures sharing stories. We need people in power & with money to take this seriously. My call is for us all to keep talking about this – don’t shut up until there is change – be annoying about it. We need to shake people. As advocates and people who care, don’t let the lack of action silence you. Keep talking, keep sharing.