Dear Carolina Community,
This has been a painful week. Often as we focus on our daily goals, activities and work that needs to get done, we can overlook the loneliness and suffering on our campus. But this week, the current mental health crisis hit home with the tragic deaths of students on our campus.
As I walked across campus and talked with students this week, I saw and heard the messages they shared with one another and those who are hurting. I am encouraged by the care and love that is evident among our student body and within our faculty and staff. I’ve also heard from parents about how their students have struggled with the transitions and uncertainties during this pandemic. I’m grateful for the ways our community reached out to one another and found ways to take a mental health break on Tuesday.
I want to thank the experts and staff from Counseling and Psychological Services, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, School of Social Work, Department of Psychology and Eshelman School of Pharmacy who provided counseling for students, faculty and staff and gave them the opportunity to process and talk about their experiences. This work will continue, as we launch the Heels Care Network and convene a mental health summit in the weeks to come.
At University Day, I talked about hope amid pain, suffering and despair, because hope is what enables us to build resilience. Universities are built on the idea of hope. We are educating future leaders because we have hope for our future. We spend hours in the lab looking for answers because we believe the solution is out there. We serve North Carolina because we have confidence that our state will continue to grow and prosper. I have hope that our community will keep responding to the challenges we face.
As a reminder, we have experts who care deeply about you. Please reach out to any of these departments that stand ready to help. Students, including graduate and professional students and postdocs, please contact Counseling and Psychological Services, the Dean of Students team or Student Wellness. For students who live on campus, you have built-in support systems in your Carolina Housing staff. Reach out to them and let them know how they can help. Faculty and staff who need support should reach out to the Employee Assistance Program. Resources are also available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and the Crisis Text Line (Text START to 741-741).
We cannot solve this crisis with the efforts of one person, or one group, alone. Every person on our campus is a valued part of our community, and strengthening our collective emotional and mental well-being has never been more critical.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz