Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the graduate student who took his own life over the weekend. A loss of a life is always tragic, and this incident serves as a sobering reminder of the obligation we have as members of the Tech community to help one another handle problems regardless of the nature of them.
Mental health difficulties can be just as dangerous as any other issue. As students seek medical assistance when they feel ill, students should feel equally comfortable seeking help when the stresses and obligations of college life become overwhelming. Students, faculty and staff must understand the importance of being compassionate to people who are dealing with these issues and should be willing to listen and help. People who seek professional help should be applauded by fellow members of their community, not chastised.
While Tech currently offers on campus resources, more can be done to help students. Knowledge of the counseling center is lacking, with many students being completely unaware that one exists. Unfortunately, in several situations, people who attempt to use the counseling service are told to attend group sessions, something that may be uncomfortable. Tech should also create an open dialogue about mental health issues similar to the Take Back the Night event, a gathering which has successfully increased awareness about violent crimes against women.
The Tech administration must also not shy away from this issue. While maintaining respect for the family should always be given primary consideration, the administration must reach out to students when unfortunate events like this occur and remind them that seeking help early can prevent a tragic incident. It is disrespectful to the victims of mental health to ignore the situation and to allow more students to be hurt.