One in Four: An Inside Look at Mental Illness
Can life really change? Why do I matter? These may be some of the many thoughts going on inside the head of a college student fighting depression. In a group of four Greenville College students walking into Jo’s Java, statistics show one of these students have a diagnosable mental illness. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, on a college campus of students ranging from ages 18-24, more than 25% have been diagnosed with a mental illness or are currently being treated by a professional for a mental illness. At Greenville College, considering enrollment includes around 1,600 traditional and online students, there are approximately 400 students who may have a mental illness.
Many struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and go unnoticed. Those with anxiety and depression want to change their world and believe the only way is to take their own life. According to American College Health Association, 7 percent of college students have “seriously considered suicide” during the past year.
Every Tuesday morning, the Resident Chaplains of Greenville College attend RC class. Tuesday, Sept. 1, Mallory Sample, Greenville College’s campus counselor, highlighted facts about mental illness in order to help RCs notice warnings of mental illness. However, why should the RC be the only one looking out for those who need and want help? Rose Marinucci, CRE of Burritt Hall, said, “It is a goal of Greenville College to have a unique community where everyone is looking out for one another. Real community cannot happen if only one person is looking out for everyone.” The mission statement of Burritt Hall expresses this kind of community, “In Burritt Hall, as a sisterhood of women of faith, we strive to reflect Christ’s love for us on each other by fostering a community of belonging.”
Instead of the RCs being the only watchers, all students should be aware of warning signs of suicide and depression. Greenville College should help foster a community of belonging. If all students are aware of those who are hurting, maybe the 7 percent of college students who are seriously considering suicide will be heard and find hope in life again.
If you start to realize your roommate is staying in their room constantly, not showering or eating well, take note. Often times, lack of hygiene and fatigue are signs of depression. Look for a list of warning signs here.
If someone comes to you and says, “I have thought about killing myself”, take them seriously.
This is a cry for help. According to Mental Health America, eight out of ten people thinking about suicide show some sign of their intention and those who talk about suicide are 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves. So, take the time and listen without judgment.
Once you realize someone may be depressed or suicidal, what can you do? First, realize you are not a counselor and refer them to Mallory Sample. Possibly walk them to her office (main floor of the Ruby E. Dare Library) and offer to sit with them as they talk to Mallory. Usually, people just want to be heard and understood. If you feel like they are truly thinking about committing suicide call your RC or the CRE on duty and fill out the concern for others form on Greenville’s website. You can also call Campus Safety at 618-664-7777 and they can connect you with the CRE on duty.
Whether you’re the one in four who struggles day in and day out with a mental Illness or you know someone who does, you’re not alone. Greenville College is a community with resources such as, free counseling and RCs and CREs who love and care about Greenville College students. This is a call to all students to open your eyes and realize suicide is a real and tragic occurrence and mental illnesses are all too common in our society. Students be on the lookout for those who need an ear and realize Greenville College is ready to support those who need help recovering from or are currently going through a mental illness.
Video from NAMI