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As we roll into the third week of September, we just finished of National Suicide Prevention Week for 2020. The entire month of September is dedicated to suicide prevention, a problem that plagues people across America and the rest of the world. 

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Many universities are beginning to see the toll that school work is taking on the mental health of their students. Stanford is just one specific case that “has agreed to change its involuntary leave of absence policy” as an attempt to help students suffering from mental health challenges. This is not an issue that only Stanford University faces;colleges across the country are seeing a spike in mental health illnesses in their students. The scary aspect is that “college campuses are reflecting what’s going on in society at large” said Dr. Victor Schwartz

Students are suffering, but so is society at large. People are feeling down and it is hard to feel stable in the time of crisis that we find ourselves in during this global pandemic. In fact “the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine has seen a 65 percent increase in calls and emails since March” which was mentioned in an article by Sandhya Raman. That is a drastic increase during a time that people are losing jobs and stability and their homes. As the pandemic continues,  it is important to put more effort into preventing suicide because “the pandemic will cause distress and leave many people vulnerable to mental health problems and suicidal behavior”.

It has been tough for everybody while trying to navigate the stressors of our new “normal”. I especially have seen a significant  increase in the mental health problems of people who are not currently in person for school. I have a thirteen-year-old sister at home who feels overwhelmed because of her online classes and lonely because she never gets to see her friends. Even my mother, who is a teacher, has been affected by not being able to be in a classroom and having to teach from home. 

I have seen my friends at other universities saddened by not being able to go back or attend in-person classes. Even my friends who are taking a leave of absence are missing seeing each other and having a core group of friends to lean on when you need it. 

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Luckily, Notre Dame did open the university in August and we get to be HERE. We have the enormous privilege to go to in-person classes in most cases while enjoying the company of friends that will last a lifetime. Our support system lives down the hall from us, not miles away. While other schools are missing the entire semester, we get to be HERE, have football Saturdays, and enjoy the company of each other. 

While we are all privileged and blessed to be in the position we are in, it is still important to remember that anybody at Notre Dame could still be facing their own mental health issues. I live in a single, and sometimes I feel isolated or like I need my friends to be around me. The past few weeks have been filled with late night Zoom calls and social distanced dining hall dates so that my friend group can hang out. I have realized the importance of my social network and how much having my friends HERE has helped me out. 

So while we are all on this beautiful campus getting a top-tier education, remember the importance of taking care of each other. Mental health problems are rising as the pandemic continues to change and disrupt our lives. While we have the opportunity to be HERE on campus, we need to take advantage of the support system we can provide for others. We must look out for the rest of the Notre Dame community because HERE we are the Fighting Irish and we are HERE for each other.

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Indonesia Brown

Notre Dame '22

I am a political science and psychology major with a minor in journalism. I am originally from South Bend and am the 4th generation to live in my current house. I love all animals and I have a dog at home named Enzo.
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