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Editorial: Check on Your Friends and Classmates

by Madison Jarnot

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash.

Students are struggling with their mental health, and there’s been an epidemic of suicides on college campuses across the country

In 2019, suicide rose to the second leading cause of death among 17 to 24-year-olds. It was the third in 2018. Last academic year, approximately 39.6% of college students in the U.S. “had seriously considered suicide” and were seeking mental health services. 

New research from the CDC discovered that a quarter of adults ages 18 to 24 contemplated suicide since the start of the pandemic. 

University students are struggling to maintain hope. Although COVID-19 impacted everyone’s mental health, its effects on college students are particularly severe.

We lost friends, family, and other loved ones, and the majority of us are forced to continue studying and working as if nothing happened. 

According to a Georgetown University study, at least 70% of students work while in college. The vast majority of these students’ work for ‘essential’ employers like gas stations, grocery stores, fast-food establishments, and restaurants. 

While most of the world spent quarantine working remotely or enjoying time off, many working college students were forced to continue their typical routine. These students worked even more hours than usual, mostly without any hazard or bonus pay. 

Plus, the majority of us spent our entire academic year attending classes online. Finding support in an entirely virtual environment was harder than it should have been. 

Now, even though we’re back in person, most students still don’t feel adequately supported, and our suicide statistics show it.

It is more important to check in with your peers than ever before. Please, use our in-person instruction to your advantage and make conversation with your classmates. 

Ask people how they’re doing. Let your friends know they can come to you for help. And please, be kind. Go out of your way to be empathetic and understanding. You never truly know what your classmates are going through outside the classroom. 

Support yourself and prioritize your health when necessary. There are so many places you can go and people you can reach out to help better manage your mental health. 

Anyone can make an appointment with the campus Counseling Center by emailing or calling 724-836-9917. Step-by-step instructions on how to create an appointment, as well as a list of emergency contacts for students, is available on the Pitt-Greensburg website

If you are concerned about your immediate safety, or the safety of a friend, call the Westmoreland County Crisis Hotline at 1-800-836-6010. A trained professional will guide you on what steps to take and can help you create a plan to get yourself or your friend out of crisis. 

We have to take care of each other. No one else is going to. 

Other stories from volume 15, issue 2:
SGA’s Free Little Food Pantries Support Students in Need
How Safe Is Pitt? A Closer Look at COVID-19 Guidelines
See How They Run” Kicks Off Return of Theater on Campus
Pitt-Greensburg Crowns Homecoming Royalty at Casino Night
Alina’s Light Holds First In-Person Event Since 2019
Pitt-Greensburg Celebrates 2020 Graduates
Leveling Up at Pittsburgh Gaming Expo
Misunderstood, But Not Mediocre: “Dear Evan Hansen” Review
Play Your Heart Out: “Train Simulator 2022” Review
From the Exhaust Tip: An Old Warrior
Opinion: #FreeBritney, B*tch

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