I am tired.
Not because my weekend consisted of two 15 hour days of work. Not because I didn’t sleep last night. Or the night before. Or for many nights before that. Not because it is the end of term.
I am tired because since March 20, I have not been able to blink without experiencing an overwhelming amount of guilt and pressure.
As part of Imprint I believe I am one person of many who has the responsibility of keeping the university accountable for its actions. I believe that no matter what happens, there should be transparency and the administration needs to remember they are here for their students.
Since Chase’s suicide, I have felt heartbroken over and over with no real explanation as to why things are the way they are.
The university has been hiding behind unofficial protocols they claim outline how the university is to handle any campus incidents. Which after speaking to the parties involved, included not reaching out to the student’s families in any acceptable manner. I am heartbroken and angry beyond belief about some of the things Chase’s parents told me.
I am angry that we lost another student. I am angry that there is still nothing being done. And I am angry that people do not have the resources they need to be able to succeed at school. But what I am most angry about is the fact that Chase’s mom reportedly received her condolences from the university in a text message.
There are limits to what people should say in text messages and while many express condolences these days over text, they come from close family and friends. They should not ever come from university administration in their only form of contact about such a serious situation.
I struggle with anxiety and depression, and regularly find myself feeling too overwhelmed to be functional. So I understand some of what Chase and all the students before him who have taken their lives must have been going through. So with a heavy heart I went through my week trying to understand what had happened and what was going to happen next.
If you are struggling please reach out for some help. Your loss will affect a lot of people and no assignment or grade is worth losing you.
By not talking about it and continuing to cover up what is happening, I feel that the university is sending a clear message that they do not care about what we are feeling, how the stresses of this particular institution are impacting students, and that the stigma society is working so hard to get rid of still surrounds mental health issues.
There are hints of steps being taken to work towards a better campus, but I am skeptical about how much impact the university will have if they are not willing to engage students in the planning of mental health systems to understand and properly accommodate the student experience at Waterloo.
I do hope for a day where suicide will be a thing of the past. But for now I would like to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Chase Graham.