Is There a ‘Right Way’ to Talk About Suicide?

community vigil

Content Warning: This article discusses suicide and contains examples of hurtful or outdated language sometimes used when discussing suicide. While this content might be triggering for those directly impacted by suicide, we believe difficult conversations around how best to discuss mental health in respectful and non-stigmatizing ways is imperative. If you are in a life threatening situation, please call +1 (800) 273-8255 or use these resources to get immediate help.

During my senior year of high school, a student two years younger than me died by suicide. The school was stricken with grief and wanted to do everything in their power to help the community overcome this loss. School was cancelled the following day, the guidance department opened their doors to anyone who wanted to talk, and a mass was held in his remembrance. It was the only thing that anyone seemed to talk about. Yet, just three weeks later, another student followed in his footsteps.

The school realized that they were not equipped to handle the situation and called in help from a few outside psychologists, who instructed them to not glorify the victim. They were told that talking about suicide in the wrong manner may only exacerbate the situation, a phenomenon known as the “Werther” effect. As a result, the school decided to be more tight lipped about the deaths.

While I am glad that there was no third victim, I still feel that the community could have benefitted from more closure. I want to explore how we as individuals could reframe the way we speak about mental health, and suicide in particular. Continue reading Is There a ‘Right Way’ to Talk About Suicide?

When Does Self-Deprecation Become a Crutch?

man looking down, clown graffiti behind him

A key piece of advice that I have always held onto is to “not take myself too seriously.” At my old job, I tried to console a coworker who was more than a little angry with our manager. She looked at me and said “Has there ever been someone who, just by looking at them, makes you feel sick to your stomach?” Without a thought, my response was “of course…I have a mirror.”

To be honest, I was pretty proud of the joke until I saw the horrified look on her face. I began to think about the convenient wall that my self-deprecating sense of humor allowed me to put up between my emotions and my interactions. While it is good to be able to find the humor in life, striking the right balance is important. Continue reading When Does Self-Deprecation Become a Crutch?

How to Balance College Responsibilities with Everything Else

girl stressed looking down and computer and school work

A few years ago, one professor’s message to her class surfaced the internet. The whiteboard read: “Sleep more than you study, study more than you party, and party as much as you can.” While an obvious over-simplification of college life, the crux of the message is simple: finding a balance in college is critical.

At the heart of this statement are the three major categories of well-being. According to the World Health Organization’s constitution, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” Focusing on these three facets of your life on campus can be a good barometer for how you are doing overall. Continue reading How to Balance College Responsibilities with Everything Else