TW (trigger warnings): suicide, mental health illnesses, death, sexual assault
“I’m going to have a panic attack.”
“kms.” (kill myself)
Some teenagers throw these terms loosely without recognizing the gravity of their implication. Mental illness should not be underestimated. It is not a joke. Depression is real. Anxiety is real, and it is not the same as being nervous. Eating disorders are real. Body dysmorphic disorder is real.
You hear administration, residential life, and pretty much everybody preach self-care — which is definitely important — but what about our peers? Sometimes, we focus on ourselves so much that we lose vision of those around us. On the outside, your peers may seem like they have everything together, and you may lose yourself in their past achievements — world-class chess player, Intel finalist, or relative of the famous so-and-so. But what you don’t see is the inside. They can be fighting with an illness, have family issues, or simply be lonely. Take Instagram for example. Many of your friends who post on Instagram have a “theme” and post pictures of elaborate desserts, trips to Europe, or just pleasingly aesthetic photography in general. But, a term called “finsta” (fake Instagram account) was created. Why? Because people like to portray a happier and more perfect side of themselves on their main accounts, yet on their “fake” account, they are genuine, funny, stressed, and/or promiscuous.
We must help those around us and know how to recognize someone struggling. Unlike physical illnesses, such struggles may not be as readily obvious, but they are just as harmful and important. The administration must take further action to educate its students; despite requiring us to complete alcohol and sexual assault modules, there weren’t any for mental health. By raising awareness and educating students what to look for, students can help one another better. But this requires us, the students, to pay attention and take the responsibility to listen. We must educate ourselves not only on alcohol and sexual violence, but also on mental health. We must be held accountable. We must care for each other.
Please, use these resources and know that you are not alone.
Nightline Peer Listening (anonymous) – (212) 854-7777
Primary Health Care Health Service – (212) 854-2091
Furman Counseling Center – (212) 854-2092
Clinician/Psychological Services on Call – (855) 622-1903
Sexual Violence Response – (212) 854-4357
Well Women – (212) 854-3063
Emergencies – (212) 854-3362
Priscilla Maccario is a first-year and a lead editor for Barnard Bite.