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 Student stories highlight the importance of mental health

By Margarita IvanovaOctober 12, 2021

TW: This article is about depression, anxiety, and suicide

* Name has been changed to private

As we consider this past month of suicide prevention, it is important to remember the message of September throughout the year.

Whether you know someone who is struggling, see someone who seems broken, or if you are the one who is broken — none of us are alone. It may sound like there is no way out, it may sound like no one really cares, but there are always people out there who want to help, listen, and even share their personal information.

The stories of Jen Van Pelt, a senior VMA official, and an Emerson student who chose to speak anonymously shared ideas about what it was like to feel powerless and lost. Despite their ongoing struggles with their mental health, love and support have led Van Pelt and Ryann * to a brighter future — full of healing, hope, and opportunity.

Their stories are also a call to action, which highlights the need for an institution based on understanding and respect — in other words, a college that does not place a desire for money over the needs of its students.

The lessons from these two stories are important aspects of finding resources and help. Overcoming mental illness and finding true balance is about going back, and trusting your resources to hold you back, even when you are living in uncertainty.
Anonymous (Ryann) (see/see):


Ryann * began her first year of high school treatment, when she was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and difficulty coping. However, life felt unexpectedly unexpected when it came time to switch to their first year of college.

“I did not continue my medical treatment for a whole year of college,” they said. “I did well in school, which surprised me.”

This stable time changed dramatically when the plague struck.

“I said that when I left school and we all lived alone and locked up, that's when my anxiety and depression started again,” says Ryann.

Talking to anyone about these internal battles did not seem impossible to Ryann, so they continued to bottle up their feelings.

"I felt really alone because I used to struggle to be open with people and talk about everything that affects my mental health in general," she said. “Even though my sister was my best friend, I could not talk to her about it because I was so upset. My parents are also very understanding, but that wasn't the kind of conversation I wanted to have. It was not something that I felt comfortable sharing with any of them. ”

Prolonged pressure fueled the flames of loneliness. This eventually led to what sounded like a last resort.

"When I was put in solitary confinement, I tried," Ryann said. “After that, I was in a very difficult situation and it took a long time to fix it. That is why I continued to receive treatment, which helped me a lot. ”


Going back to school in the fall of 2020 after months of separation and hardship was not easy.

"It was very difficult to go back to school after [the effort] because there were parts of it that had a visible body and I didn't like that," said Ryann. “I did not want others to see [marks] because I was still in the dark when I denied it. That's when my anxiety started to worsen, and it damaged my schooling and my friendships. ”

Ryann decided that the best solution for all of this was to use a camper to control their lifestyle and to have more control over their environment and environment. After applying for the lottery, Ryann was rejected, which led to them re-applying through Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

"It was a really bad event that lasted for 2 months," they said. “At first I asked my therapist to write me a letter with all my diagnosis and treatment and then I went for an interview. After the interview, the SAS person was actually like ‘I don’t think your documents represent your case properly,’ because I had already learned a lot more deeply with him about the effort and medication.



"After that, I went back and told my therapist to write down everything for me," they continued. “We waited and were refused. SAS said my case was not enough to get me out of school. ”

While SAS was continuing the case at the meeting, the attorney pointed out Ryann's frustration, not the other way around, saying it was not enough to get out of school.

“So far, my notes included five years of treatment, as well as my anxiety and depression,” says Ryann. “I was very open with my conversations, and it was clear that this was not an easy thing to do. It was the first time I had come out in the open about it. It was really hard to tell someone all that personal information, and then make them look like ‘okay that’s not serious enough.

The whole process prompted Ryann to ask why Emerson wanted to keep them on campus, eventually leading them to feel like the college didn’t have their best interests at heart.

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