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If you are struggling, please reach out for help

By Thresher Editorial Board     10/18/22 9:50pm

Content warning: This piece contains references to suicide.

This week, Izzie Karohl, a Rice alumna, wrote an opinion piece highlighting the need to talk about mental health and suicidality in our community. We at the Thresher want to add to her piece and encourage students who are struggling with their mental health or suicidal ideation to reach out for help, whether from on- or off-campus resources.

Reaching out for help can be terrifying, and those fears are often rooted in personal negative experiences with resources in the past or stories heard from peers – we don’t mean to minimize that with this editorial.

Especially with students dealing with suicidal ideation, the fear of being involuntarily hospitalized is a real consideration. It’s a mental health complication that can be difficult to approach due to concern for a student who might harm themselves. We know that many students are hesitant to reach out, especially to campus resources, because of this fear and peers’ stories of being pushed into taking a leave of absence from Rice or even a concern that on-campus resources won’t be helpful for them.

But no single experience is representative of all that a resource can provide, and the Counseling and Wellbeing Center is worth seeking help from. They’re accessible, they’re free and they’re right here on campus. This can be a benefit when compared to off-campus resources that may have lengthy wait times, require traveling off campus and can be costly, especially for low-income students.

For students who prefer off-campus support, the Counseling Center’s care coordinator helps students navigate their insurance benefits — some cover as much as 75% — and has a list of off-campus providers who have worked with Rice students in the past. Some providers offer sliding scale pricing options for therapy, such as at the Montrose Center.

Ultimately, any resource is better than none. A flawed resource is preferable to not reaching out for help, not being directed to help or considering a decision that you can’t take back. Karohl asked us all to talk about suicide, and she’s right. We need to. We also need to acknowledge the reality of what being suicidal means, and we need to emphasize the importance of encouraging students dealing with suicidal ideation and others struggling with their mental health to reach out to someone – anyone – for help. 

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