The campus and town of North Carolina State University are saddened by the death of another student. On Saturday, what looks like a suicide took place on campus.
Police from the university says that the dead student was found in Sullivan Hall. The student’s death is the eighth since the start of the school year. It happened just days after a graduate student was found dead in the E.S. King Village Apartments.
Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a message to students –
“Our Wolfpack community lost a student this weekend in an apparent suicide, just a few days after a graduate student died from what police believe were natural causes.”
“In January, an undergraduate student also passed from what police believe were natural causes.”
Woodson said that students will be able to get help from counsellors on Monday and Tuesday. Students and staff will have access to a number of mental health resources, such as trained professionals and morning yoga.
Sophomore Eleanor Lott, who serves on the Student Mental Health Task Force, urging open dial said –
“It’s absolutely the most important to destigmatize mental health. A lot of students, like you mentioned, they’re away from home for the first time. Maybe they come from a culture, a community that doesn’t necessarily accept mental health as a real struggle. But, you know, the brain is an organ just like any other organ. It can get sick just like any other organ.”
She said that one way the university is working to deal with mental health problems is through services like AcademicLiveCare, which gives students up to 12 free telehealth counselling services.
Lott explained –
“It’s really important for students and for faculty and staff and the entire community to recognise mental health as a regular disease that can impact anybody just as much as any other disease.”
Lott talked about how important it is for students to help with mental health.
“It’s having a voice on the ground that can say, this is what my peers are receiving or what they’re not receiving, and this is what my peers are benefiting from. And are not benefiting from.”
On Thursday, there will be no classes at the university because it is a Wellness Day. Nancy Nelson, the founder of Free Moms said –
“Last fall, they had a Wellness Day and we had more kids than ever that.”
Nelson started the volunteer group in 2019, and every Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m., people from the group go to the Talley Student Union to sell baked goods.
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Since then, it has grown to have more than 600 students, about 100 parents (including a few dads), and dogs. Nelson said –
“Some will say, ‘Oh, this is so good. I’m having such a hard week.’ We hear that a lot.”
She stressed how important it was to give students a place to meet.
“I think it’s because kids don’t have a sense of belonging I mean, they don’t have acceptance either. They don’t feel loved. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to give them.”
Nelson’s two kids went to NC State, and he said that most volunteers have kids who go there.
“I’m a mom and a grandma, and I love you kids. And I know that kids are really struggling today, but I just want to bring support to you in the form of free hugs and free friendship and free food.”
During the pandemic, mental health problems have affected children of all ages. Dr Jim Deni, President of the North Carolina School Psychology Association said –
“We’re in what I would call a critical crisis in providing mental health support in our schools.”
Deni warned parents about the dangers of cyberbullying and asked them to keep an eye on what their kids do online and on social media. Deni said –
“You want a parent who you can go to who will actively listen without judging or moralising or preaching. Because if they don’t have that relationship with their families, then they’re going to seek, you know, other relationships with other people that might not be as strong.”
He also wants to see more people who work in mental health. The North Carolina School Psychology Association says that the ratio of school psychologists to students in the state is 1:1943, which is almost four times higher than what the National Association of School Psychologists recommends.
Monday, Governor Cooper announced that colleges and universities will get $7.7 million to help with mental health programmes. This money will be used for things like suicide prevention training, resiliency training for faculty, staff, and students, and access to a mental health hotline after business hours.
Governor Cooper said in a statement shared by his Office –
“Identifying their mental distress and getting them access to quality treatment is more critical for our students than ever.”
“This investment will help our state’s colleges and universities better support their students so they can thrive.”
Althaf Salavudeen a student at NC State said –
“It’s difficult to hear the frequency of it, in general, is pretty jarring and it’s a good reminder to always check up on your friends.”
Mastewal Bailey said –
“It’s been really sad and I haven’t had personal connections with these people, but they’ve also been in buildings that are really close to I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”
In a survey done by NCSU’s counselling centre last year, 27% of students said they were so depressed that it was hard for them to do their jobs.