So today I want to talk about what happens when a college student commits suicide.
Like whoa- there's an introduction if I've ever heard one.
What happens when a college student decides to take their own life?
I wanted to reflect on an instance that I went through as a student at U of H. Unfortunately when I was a student, not only did I lose a friend, but there were also multiple instances where I got alerts on my phone saying: "Campus wide emergency heads up. This is what's currently gone on in this dorm building or this housing area.
In each of those situations it's just awful. It's awful. There's nothing good about it.
The first instance was when a student committed suicide in the dorms early on in my college career. I remember finding out about it because an email was sent out originally not disclosing how the student passed away. And then as it was investigated more if you will and I'm assuming okayed by the family,the student's cause of death was released to the students through an email that was sent out. The second experience was a student who, from what I perceived, potentially jumped out of a building in one of the halls on campus and was found by another student outside.
Both very very traumatic situations whether it be in a dorm outside just in general. Coming across somebody who was passed away regardless is traumatic but in this way is just life changing.
It really is. And I know this is a touchy subject, but I want to talk about is what do we do when that happens? And I think the lack of action is embarrassing.
When I lost my dad twelve years ago, almost 13 years ago, my dad wasn't a high profile individual but he worked in a very kind of high profile place. He came to work in this environment after a very high profile situation took place.
My dad was an engineer at the Texas City plant as part of BP's facility back in 2006. Now that plant is now run by Marathon Petroleum- a completely different group of people, everything has shifted since this all happened.
In 2005 if you'll recall if you're up to speed with Texas news, there was an explosion at the Texas City BP plant that killed 15 people. That was a very very very high profile incident. There were a couple of people hired to come in and assist in cleaning up and fixing what needed to be fixed to justify this plant continuing to operate.
My dad was one of those people and I'll never forget that the lack of communication between what happened and what do we do about it- was heartbreaking.
Last year in 2018 I reached out to that plant because I wanted to speak to somebody who potentially would have known my father, who would have worked side by side with him, just to gain some insight on how he was at work and whether or not they enjoyed working with him just to gain some perspective on the side of my dad that I didn't know. I knew the daddy that came home. I didn't know the Daddy that was at work and I wanted to understand who that man was.
So I reached out and I was actually connected with the security guard who not only had worked on that plant for twenty five years but who was there the night that my dad died. My dad took his life in the parking lot of this plant.
That conversation was gut wrenching- because on the phone he was like "Caroline. I was there. I was there the night your dad died. I was on the other side of the door that he tried getting into.".
And what's insane to me is in that moment and even now I get chills because in my heart I'm thinking "Well what did they do for you?" I can imagine, because I went through it, being somebody who lost somebody I loved to suicide and the hole that that creates. But I can't even imagine being there AS somebody is choosing to take their own life or stumbling across somebody who has taken their own life.
What happens for YOU? What process is in place to make sure that you are taken care of? Take a step back from even the security guard- what about my dad's team? Regardless of whether or not there were unethical things happening, (which that's a whole other conversation) when somebody professionally is involved in an environment or a setting or group of people- who are affected directly by suicide- what processes in place to make sure that the people who were directly connected to that human being are taken care of?? Do you bring in counselors? Do you bring in a grief therapist?
The like what do you do? Who is responsible for making sure or being held accountable to making sure that you are OK- the people who survive this tragedy?
Because that's what we do. We survive these tragedies. Even if it wasn't your dad-that security guard survived this tragedy.
What is so sad and what happens too often is when somebody goes through losing somebody close to them to suicide they are more likely to die that way as well. So if you're still here and you've gone through that congratulations you're a survivor and I'm so grateful for your existence.
As a college student who is academically going through time on a campus where I have a classmate of mine who decides to take their own life and is found, the lack of action is unacceptable. We shouldn't be waiting for one event a year or a semester to reflect on the way that depression affects college students. If we have to wait for the tragedy to occur to be proactive about preventing it- we're too late.
I hope this brought you guys value. It is always surreal for me when I'm able to share my story with you guys and bits and pieces that maybe I haven't shared before. It is so surreal.
I spent a lot of time as a little girl dreaming of an opportunity to share what I went through in a positive way to create some sort of enormous change and grateful in company is that outlet for me. So thank you so much for being here. Wherever you're watching or listening if you would please consider leaving me some feedback. A review a comment or message me directly let me know what you think about this content format as well as the content itself. Is it valuable as an insightful. Do you hate it. Let me know because I want to adjust based on your feedback. And as always I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. Stay tuned for more.