UW is grieving the loss of a second year AHS student in the St. Jerome’s community who took their own life on Tuesday, Apr. 2.
The family of the student has requested that they remain anonymous.
The University of Waterloo released a statement that stated the student suffered from mental illness in the past- specifically depression and anxiety.
Earlier this year, the student wrote a piece about mental health and wellbeing for #BellLetsTalk, where they described their struggle over their time at UW.
In the piece, the student stated that 2018 had been difficult for them as they struggled with feelings of helplessness, loneliness, and sadness. Still, they had sought help and were seeing improvements in their mental health.
“For a long time, I have struggled with anxiety and depression… I felt trapped in my mind, not feeling like anyone would be able to help me. I kept quiet, and it almost cost me my life,” they stated in their piece. “I can proudly say that I’ve been improving. I’ve been working on opening up and letting people in, which is hard and terrifying, but necessary… Anxiety and depression will be things that I will always carry with me, and I feel the effects of every day. But I am not alone, and I can get through anything.”
Apr. 2 was also the day that students received a mass email from UW President Feridun Hamdullahpur on the university’s progress in the recommendations presented by the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health.
Three of the recommendations have been completed. These are: the signing of the Okanagan Charter, training and timely information for faculty and staff, and easy-to-find information about mental health resources for students. These resources also include additional mental health professionals and promoters. Hamdullahpur stated that the initiatives for student mental health are paramount to him, and communication is vital to continued and sustained improvement.
“We all have a role to play in strengthening mental health and wellness and a lasting legacy of support… Know that this will be a never-ending process of learning and improving,” he stated in his email.
The student had also ended their writing on a note of hope. They recognized that not all battles need to be fought alone and asking for help is an act of both courage and kindness.
“It takes bravery to be vulnerable to others when asking for help. And I’ve learned that sometimes I need to be my own superhero to be brave enough to fight my battles,” they stated. “Most importantly, it is necessary to be kind. Be kind to yourself and to everyone around you. You never know who may be struggling, or what others might be dealing with. A little kindness goes a long way.”
“I am so thankful and so lucky to have some absolutely amazing friends and people in my life who demonstrate constant kindness. Mental illness told me that no one cared, but these people told me different,” the student stated.
The following services can be contacted for support through the grieving process or any mental health support:
Counselling Services – 519-888-4567 ext. 32655
Here 24/7 – 1-844-437-3247
Health Services – Student Medical Clinic – 519-888-4096
Grand River Hospital – 519-749-4300
St. Mary’s Hospital – 519-744-3311
Good2Talk – 1-866-925-5454
Crisis Services Canada – 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645