A community that listens
Mary Deweese | Wednesday, April 6, 2011
A member of our community committed suicide last week. I do not know Sean Valero, nor do I know any of the circumstances surrounding his death. What I do know, however, is that suicide is often the end result of untreated or unsuccessfully treated depression, and depression is a serious illness.
An estimated 19 million Americans have major depression, a clinical disorder, and more than 1 in 10 people suffering from depression commit suicide. It’s the second leading cause of death amongst college students. It’s an all too common problem that is talked about much too little. If you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, you’re not alone, but you do need to seek help. There are a variety of resources available, both at this university and in the greater community, to effectively treat depression. Make an appointment at the University Counseling Center (574-631-7336), where anything you discuss will remain confidential. If you’re suicidal, call 911, or get to the nearest Emergency Room, where you can receive immediate help. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 to speak with trained personnel at a crisis center.
You don’t need to have any experience with depression to be a friend to a person suffering from it. All you need to do is sit and listen. If you think somebody may be depressed, please talk to them. Let them know you care, and encourage them to seek help. Go to the UCC with them or on their behalf. Don’t downplay any talk of suicide; if you think a person is a danger to themselves, call 911 or take them to an ER.
I do not know Sean Valero or his family and friends. However, I know his death is a tragedy. In memory of him, let’s make Notre Dame a place where mental illness is not stigmatized, but understood. In memory of him, go out of your way to make sure that you’re there for anybody who needs somebody to listen. Keep Sean’s family and friends in your prayers, and please remember, if you are feeling suicidal, seek help immediately. Please.