Dear Ohio State, my home, my first real love, and Counseling and Consultation Services, my first real disappointment:
It took me a while to reach a point where I could write about what happened yet again at Ohio State. Another student jumps to their death off a parking garage, that being the fourth student in my time at Ohio State to "fall" from the parking garage to their death. Let's start there, Ohio State. Call this what it is: we have an epidemic on this campus of people who feel so hopeless, so alone that they have to take their own lives. This isn't just an overall increase in college-aged kids with mental health issues, but a continuing failure to do your damn job.
I called Counseling and Consultation Services during the fall semester of my sophomore year, the most depressed I have ever been. I hadn't showered in a disgusting amount of time, was thinking about hurting myself in more ways than one, and couldn't even sit in the waiting area without completely losing my shit. And what did CCS tell me?
And I quote, "Your problems are too much for us to handle here; we're going to refer you to a doctor over at the Wilce and get you set up with a prescription."
No followup. Not a call, an email, nothing to check in to make sure that I had gone to that doctor's appointment, or searched for help outside of the services my tuition pays for, or that I was even still alive. When I went to that doctor's appointment because my parents were on top of me about it, I scored one point below the absolute maximum on the depression/suicide index. Do you realize how rare that is? Imagine the look on the nurse's face when she looked over my paperwork and saw a shell of a girl. A girl who only wasn't hurting herself because she didn't have access.
I also went to Counseling and Consultation Services my freshman year when I was feeling overwhelmed, stressed. That time, they also told me that I was "too much to handle" and that I should look into outside sources. Instead, I started working out more, bringing back my disordered eating tendencies.
And here's the messed up thing. I'm one of the lucky ones. I am still here; I am happy and appropriately medicated and with an incredible support system that hardly lets me sleep in on Sundays without checking in on my mental health. And that's why this is so upsetting to me.
What are the odds that each of those four parking garage suicides were students who reached out to CCS and bared their soul like I did, just to be told that they are too much work? Too far gone? Confirming all of those toxic feelings floating around in their head?
I'm sorry, Ohio State, but what the fuck? How many kids have to feel so hopeless as to kill themselves before you take a hard look at your policies? How many kids have to attempt before you all realize your part to play in this tragedy? How many people have to be turned away from CCS for being "too much" before you realize that what you have in place to deal with student mental health is both ludicrously insufficient and borderline negligent? How many letters, blogs and articles do students with stories like mine have to write before you do ANYTHING different? Change even the smallest thing to make the suffering of students like me who are lucky enough to still be here less?
Frankly, Ohio State has so much growth to undergo before our system can even be helpful to ANYONE. My story is not the minority: it is the majority. How many kids with bright futures and big smiles have to kill themselves before you guys do anything? Shameful. Absolutely shameful.
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