You Are Not Alone

It is so sad to hear about another student passing away on the University of Northern Iowa campus. Even when people seem like they are happy, they still may be having those dark thoughts. It feels so unreal to hear about this. Even though I did not personally know Katie Burns or Kyle Raarup, I knew they were amazing people. I knew that they were loved.

Remember that you are loved. I love you. Everyone loves you. Keep telling everyone that. Suicide may feel right at the time, but I assure you that it is not! It is never right. My heart hurts for the friends and families of Katie and Kyle. Suicide should be prevented. It can be prevented.

We have a community that loves each other. From what I have learned about the girls on Katie's floor, they have become so close. They have been spreading so much love. It’s sad that was the reason for them to become closer, but it’s good that they became so close. I hope the guys on Kyle’s floor become close, and they spread the love as well.

Going to the vigils for both Katie and Kyle was a wave of comfort, knowing that there was so much support. It was sad to be there for the reason it was, but it was nice to know that people are there. At Kyle's vigil, I went up with the Galatia girls because even though I had changed floors, they still wanted me there. They wanted a family member to be there with them in this sadness. It made me feel so happy to know that they wanted my support. Always a Galatia Girl. I love you girls.

If you see someone that looks sad, talk to them. Ask them if they’re OK. Give them a hug. Let them know that they are loved. We are a family! We are panther strong! We have joined in UNIty! Remember, you are loved. There is counseling on campus. There are other students, professors, and staff that you can talk to. You are So Worth Loving. The So Worth Loving at UNI Facebook page shows support.

You have so much support all around you. If you don’t want to go to counseling, I am here for you. Whether you need a hug or a conversation, come to me. Contact me on Facebook or Twitter, and I will be there. If you see me around, I'll talk. Hell, just hug or talk to the next person you see. I’m sure they will stop what they are doing and help you out. They will be there for you.

I know that there are dark times, but you can get through them. I believe in you. Someone really close to me attempted suicide, but as soon as she thought of how it would effect herself and others, she stopped. She knew she was loved. Now she is doing really well. Her life is so much better. She is so much happier. Life does get better.

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. There are struggles, but like a caterpillar gaining wings, you gain a new chapter in life. That new chapter will happen, just wait for it. It's there.

National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-784-2433

Statewide Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-334-4224

University of Northern Iowa Counseling Center: 1-319-273-2676

Rest well Katie Rae Burns 9/23/2015

Rest well Kyle Raarup 11/12/2015

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