This has been a week of mourning, togetherness and reflection. For all of us on The Denisonian staff, we have first hand experience with depression, anxiety and suicide. Whether it be ourselves, someone close to us, or a stranger, we all know or have known someone that has been affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state and is the 10th leading cause of death. It is a serious epidemic that we should be concerned about.
There should be an ongoing effort to check on the people you care about. Beyond this though, there should be an effort to check on everyone, whether it be that random person in your class, a person that you walk past and so on.
We need to start realizing that we should care deeply about others. In caring, we need to really listen to others when we communicate. In listening and attending to others’ thoughts and feelings, we can have real conversation.
However, it also requires more than just words, there should be genuine action. We can’t just offer support, we have to give support. If someone you know is suffering, reach out and actively support them and be there for someone. For example, grabbing dinner with a friend may be much more effective than just reaching out in support over a text.
Depression takes hold of students in many different forms. Understanding warning signs does not always reflect what an individual is showing or needs. Some people are much better at hiding the fact that they’re suffering, which can make it nearly impossible to support them in a time of need. Treating one another with kindness and full-heartedness can truly help someone more than anyone could imagine. If someone is suffering, and someone reaches out and asks to grab coffee, or dinner or even just to hang out, that could benefit someone that may hide their true demons within.
Many preach about supporting others, which is necessary. However, it can’t stop there. This care and support should not only be extended to others, but also to ourselves. Taking a moment to evaluate where we are personally and asking for help when needed should become a priority. People often lose sight of self-care. For some, relaxation means a face mask and a glass of wine. For others, it means a long walk around Granville. In maintaining our mental and physical well-being, we all have different strategies that work for us.
We should collectively continue the practice of mindfulness, or the engagement in active listening, awareness and attentiveness to one’s surroundings, ourselves and others. Doing so can make a difference in someone’s life, whether they’re your best friend or someone you’ve talked to only once.Go deeper in conversation with the people you might usually just smile at as you pass them by. Get to know your acquaintances that you see on a regular basis but still don’t really know. Everybody has so much to offer to this world and each and every one of us stands to gain so much from one another if we commit ourselves to going this extra mile.