How Can We Keep Students Alive?
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

How Can We Keep Students Alive?

An open letter to college campuses

6
How Can We Keep Students Alive?
Al Jazeera Fault Lines

I've long given up the idea that I am going to "save the world." However, my desire to "do something" has never faded away. I'm an outspoken person. I post my opinions on social justice issues and politics on Facebook. I write for publications. But recently, writing just isn't cutting it for me. I don't feel like posting a status is helpful anymore. I want to actually, physically go out and do something to make a change.

According to a local news article by WDSU, four Loyola students have died since January 2016. Two of which died on campus. That's almost one person per month. I know that some people might say, "Well, that's not a lot. College students die all the time! It just happens." But at a campus that's only a few blocks wide with less than 5,000 students total, four is a considerable amount of deaths. Another crucially important aspect is to remember that these students were not just numbers or statistics. They were members of our communities and, most importantly, they were human beings.

We should never take the deaths of students lightly or just pass it off.

With speculations and rumors of suicide, drug overdoses, and other harmful practices occurring on campus, it's time that we as a community do something about it. We can't keep passing it off with a, "Oh, well, it happens" kind of attitude. No duh, it happens, but what are we going to do to stop it!

It took me quite some time to start noticing the small posters around campus that warn students not to do drugs and to seek help with their problems. However, this is just the equivalent of your parents telling you, "Uh, drugs are bad," and "Suicide can kill you." Posters with a "this is your brain on drugs," kind of attitude are not enough. In fact, I'm not even sure if they're helpful. How are we going to actually go about effectively addressing this issue?

Loyola officially declared itself a "Tobacco Free Community," back in 2015, but students still blatantly smoke in front of the "no smoking" signs. If a huge campaign to stop students from smoking isn't preventing students from smoking in public, then how are signs around campus going to stop harmful behaviors behind the closed doors of a campus dorm room? How are we going to help our students who are struggling with mental health issues or harmful coping methods? Is there a way to show that we care about people BEFORE they die and we have to start planning candle light vigils around the unpredictable New Orleans weather. Is there a way to support people before we need to start sending out emails to inform people that the university counseling center and mission and ministry are available for grief support AFTER a member of our community has already died?

Since all I know how to do is post to Facebook, I posted a status asking for the input from my fellow students:

I got a few shares, likes, and a couple of really great comments. However, I'm still not sure where to start.

Someone mentioned normalizing mental health and to start getting people to talk about it. People don't tend to talk about mental health as a sickness. Mental health issues are often treated as something that is imagined or that individual can just choose to make disappear. People often want to keep their issues private (which is their right), but it is often kept so private that it goes untreated, which can lead to horrible consequences and harmful behaviors.

If removing the stigma is the starting point, then how can we go about normalizing talking about things like depression and substance abuse? How do we stop sounding like a broken record, a parent who "doesn't understand," like a cheesy "being sober rules, substance abuse is not cool," middle school anti-drug use slogan, or an informative poster that people will ignore as they walk through the hall. How do we start sounding like to form a supportive community of students who can make a change in our peers lives and well -- keep them alive? How do we get rid of the stigma and normalize the process of reaching out for help?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.

76314

Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.

107362

As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

92709
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'The Addams Family 2' Film Review

The sequel to the 2019 reboot is an enjoyable, but unremarkable start to the Halloween movie season

61563
Photo Credit: MGM – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd82bSBDE84

There's a reason why the Addams Family have become icons of the American cartoon pantheon (although having one of the catchiest theme songs in television history doesn't hinder them).

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Latest Trends in the Music World

The music world is a fast evolving and ever changing landscape of influence. Over the last 20 years, we've seen the influx of home recording technology paired with the rise of streaming, making way for new independent artists and communities to flourish.

96405

The music world is a fast evolving and ever changing landscape of influence. Over the last 20 years, we've seen the influx of home recording technology paired with the rise of streaming, making way for new independent artists and communities to flourish. This is the positive side of the streaming coin, different kinds of music can exist in the same spaces in much more fluid ways. Aesthetic and musical styles are merging and taking on new life in the 21st century. Trends in the music industry can be most easily followed by exploring instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms to see what people are wearing and listening to. Let's take a look at a few style and artistic trends influencing the world of music.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments