Editorial | Our response: NMU’s suicide email

North Wind Staff

So, here you are. You’ve made it through the ups and downs of high school and have settled in to your first year of college. You’re making your classes and meeting new friends, but something just isn’t right.

“It might be the time change,” your friends might say, “or the lack of sunlight.” Whatever the reason, you might feel like you’re in a tunnel with no end in sight. You might even be thinking of suicide.

For students at NMU who feel like this, reaching out for help from a friend could mean disiciplinary action after a controversial email leaked late last week on social media.

In the email, NMU administrators urged those seeking assistance with mental health issues to make use of university resources during regular business hours. Failing that, they are to seek qualified help from a medical provider.

Official explanations have pointed to a need to protect the confidant. While understandable, we are all adults and should be allowed to choose how much energy we devote to helping a friend. It’s not about solving the problem alone, but about getting someone the right help.

Justifiably so, the reaction from the student body was very critical, but we’re happy to see our fellow students reacting the way they are. Students are realizing the control that they have to implement change.

We think the student body response that all students deserve help and that they should never be forced to face difficulty alone is an obvious one. What’s important now is how the administration reacts and corrects the issue. Students should stand their ground and get the change that needs to happen.

NMU’s current policies are poorly-written and cold, but it is important to note that the policies are currently under review. The rise of students in support of the 14 students who received this email this semester, as well as any students dealing with depression and/or self-harm, is inspiring.

College is about finding yourself.  Sometimes that means going through some severe downs before realizing how to be happy. It takes a lot of internal conflict to admit to yourself that you’re depressed, and it takes even more to go to a trusted friend about your problems.

Discouraging students from confiding in their friends—often the closest people in their lives away from home—can have serious implications and needs to be re-evaluated.