Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

A Letter to SLU and the SLU Community, From a Student Feeling Lost

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

*Trigger Warning: mentions of death, suicide and grief.

To anyone reading this: you are never alone, especially now, as we are collectively experiencing these tragedies. Remind yourself every day that there is always someone who will welcome you with open arms and receive every part of you with love and support.

It goes without saying that we need to give immediate care and attention to the mental health of the SLU community right now. Your mental health deserves to be prioritized at the same level as your physical health. As students, anything going on in our minds is of the utmost importance because that changes everything in our performance—and our well-being in general. If we are not given the adequate amount of time to process the tragedies that have occurred, on top of everything else we are going through as we continue to attempt to live a normal life during a pandemic, we will continue to feel lost.

It’s been about a month into the school year and I’ve gotten the news about a community member passing three times now. The first loss was a kind soul from my high school graduating class, who I never got the chance to know too well but nonetheless, I understood that his presence was deeply appreciated by many. On the weekend of the September 11, we lost a SLU student to suicide. For myself and many others who have struggled with a past regarding the topic, it hit hard. Then, on the afternoon of September 20, another email notification was sent to all of our phones, “praying for the loss of one of our own.” Yet another SLU student has passed away.

We deserve to feel free to journal our thoughts, take some time for prayer, have a mental health day and spend time with loved ones. You deserve to do those things.

Then why is it that when we’re experiencing even one COVID-19 symptom, we’re given an excused absence but when we’re going through mental health struggles, we’re expected to go to class? We’ve been asked to continue on with our coursework, our in-class assessments and our extra-curricular commitments as if nothing happened. On the night of September 20, my roommate told me she overheard a student say to a friend, “I really wish I could journal tonight but I have a paper due in the morning.” We’ve been asked to put our mourning on pause in exchange for a paper, an exam or some math problems. This is not okay.

Every college campus should understand that their student body’s success and motivation is reliant on how supported they feel. If our university does not offer adequate resources, we cannot perform at our best. At every university, there needs to be counselors with diverse backgrounds who are equipped to respond with unique perspectives and understanding attitudes. There need to be sessions free of cost that can be offered at least once a week. Our mental health deserves to be taken seriously.

Itzelle is a second year at Saint Louis University pursuing her degree in political science. As a first generation college student from a Southwest side Chicago latino neighborhood, she has been dedicated to making sure her voice is heard since she was young. Her works mainly focus on her identity and experience but she also strongly enjoys discussing music, the environment, and her other creative outlets.