Four suicide deaths at the University of Guelph has some students calling it a crisis
Students at the University of Guelph are concerned the pressure of post-secondary education is too much for some people to handle.
Since the beginning of the fall semester suicide has taken the lives of four students at the university.
Now their classmates are looking to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Some students have signed a petition asking the school to take this issue more seriously.
In the last two years the university has put more resources into mental health initiatives.
Brenda Whiteside, the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Guelph says she has never seen this number of suicides in her 18 years on the job.
“This is highly unusual. One suicide would be a problem for us, this is very unusual,” says Whiteside.
The university doesn’t know why the number of suicides is so high this year, and the uncertainty is sparking conversation on campus.
The situation has left students with a lot of questions and few answers.
Michala James, a fourth-year student, says that mental health has always been an issue and now that people are discussing it openly, more are likely to seek out resources that can provide aid.
“Students may not necessarily know about the resources that are available to them, and may not know necessarily how to act on them,” says James.
James is hosting a suicide awareness and prevention banquet in March.
She hopes that by talking about it openly they can remove the taboo surrounding suicide.
Workshops at the university are also are helping students educate and train themselves in classes like safe-talk and assist training.
“They can help you learn to recognize signs of someone with suicidal ideations, as well as how to step in, how to prevent, and how to talk to these people,” says Megan Gauthier, a fourth-year student at the University of Guelph.
MichalaJames says she is grateful for the resources available to students from the U of G, but that the university could do a better job of making students aware of what is available to them.
“It’s not the lack of resources, but the lack of advertising and the lack of accessibility.”
With reporting by Marc Venema.