[Trigger warning: Suicide]
Dear Amherst students,
Imagine it’s late at night on a Saturday. You and your friends have been out drinking and partying since 8 p.m., and it has been a great night. You all say good night. You’re heading back to your room when you get the text.
I need you.
“Now?” You think. “It’s past midnight and all I want to do is sleep. What could possibly be so important?”
Please. Come. I need you.
You go to your friend’s room. He or she is sitting there, sobbing. He or she tells you they have been battling depression. He or she tells you they have considered self-harm and/or suicide. He or she says they have not told anyone. He or she tells you that if you had not come that night, they may not have made it until the morning.
“How can this be,” you think to yourself. “I just saw this person half an hour ago and they were the life of the party.” What do you do?
The harsh truth is that people rarely reach out like this. Often times, no one ever knows until it is too late. Moreover, if they do reach out, people are lost as to how to respond.
Here are some other harsh truths.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people ages 15-24 and the second leading cause of death in college students ages 20-24.
Over two-thirds of young people do not talk about or seek help for mental health problems.
Forty-four percent of American college students reported feeling symptoms of depression.
Stereotypes are one of the largest barriers preventing young people from seeking the help they need.
Fourteen to 24 percent of youth and young adults have self-injured at least once.
This is real. This is now. We must fight for change.
I work for To Write Love On Her Arms: Amherst Chapter as well as an intern with the TWLOHA head office. My fellow chapter leaders and I have begun to spread a message of hope and love to Amherst. We have started a journey to educate, inspire and encourage. We want to give students at Amherst a foundation to hope for a brighter future in which they can write their own story.
We do not pretend to fix anyone’s problems; instead, we seek to act as a waiting room — a group committed to encouraging people to find real help. We live in a difficult world, a broken world. We believe everyone can relate to pain, all of us live with questions and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck.
On a more personal level, one I hope others can appreciate, I suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. I have been the person reaching out for help and the one reached to. Through my own journey I have learned two things. One, is that community, hope and help can replace secrets and silence. Second, that my best days are ahead because I believe in my story. Neither of these would have happened if I had not begun talking with people. The cool thing is that everyone faces their own struggles — that we can all connect over our experiences and our futures. We truly are not alone; we just have to shake off the fear that we are.
We are here. We are here for you. Please, join us. Write your own story, create your own journey and live your own life. In the next few months our chapter is preparing to do some extraordinary things — such as starting an assembly program in local high schools to inform students on these facts. Please, join us as we work to create a bridge between the community and resources dedicated to helping people.
The national office’s website is:
And, finally, you can contact us at: