In recent weeks, we have heard with great sadness of the tragedies of several college students who have committed suicide. Many of these students did so out of profound sadness and pain due to acts of discrimination and violence committed against them because of their sexual identity.
This is National Mental Health Awareness Week and we want to remind you that the University of St. Thomas has many resources available for students who may be feeling alone and hopeless or who may be thinking about hurting themselves or even feeling suicidal.
If you feel that way, please reach out to those around you. If you have a friend you are concerned about, we want you to learn about ways you can help. Some signs that may be cause for concern include:
- Change in academic performance: absences, poor performance or lack of class participation.
- Change in behavior: isolation, problems with friends or family members, exaggerated emotional responses.
- Change in appearance: dramatic weight loss or gain or poor personal hygiene.
- Talking or writing about death or suicide.
- Recent situations such as losses, legal issues, substance abuse or academic difficulties.
As members of the St. Thomas community, and as campus leaders concerned about the good of all our student, staff, and faculty community, we are committed to creating an environment of support and welcome for all. For that reason, the offices of Student Affairs, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Campus Ministry are committed to creating safe spaces for every person.
Therefore, we want everyone to know that they can come to us without fear of judgment to receive our support, care and compassion. No one should ever feel that there is nowhere to go and no one who cares about them. As Tommies, we care about one another and demonstrate respect for our fellow community members. A caring community starts with each of us.
Students living on campus can always talk to the Residence Life staff; they are trained and experienced in supporting students and connecting them with campus resources.
Counseling and Psychological Services is a confidential, caring resource for students. You can make an appointment to talk with a counselor by calling (651) 962-6780. Crisis walk-in hours are available daily. The Counseling and Psychological Services Web site has extensive self-help information and anonymous screening for a number of mental-health concerns.
You can also call the Dean of Students Office to discuss your concern about a friend by dialing (651) 962-6050. Finally, Campus Ministry is available as a resource for spiritual direction and assistance and can be reached at (651) 962-6560.