Bonding in their Grief
The numbers surrounding mental health in our country are staggering. Nearly 20% of all adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in any given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The numbers are similar for young adults, with approximately 1 in 5 kids aged 13-18 experiencing a severe mental disorder each year.
The mental health statistics for college students are even more alarming. A study by the Archives of General Psychiatry found that 75% of chronic mental illness begins by age 24. Young adults have unusually high rates of diagnosable mental illness, and even more troubling, they are the demographic least likely to seek professional help.
What’s more, the growing mental health problem among college students has worsened in the past decade. The American College Counseling Association found in 2012 that more than 37% of students seeking treatment are suffering from severe psychological problems – double the percentage in 2000. Prescriptions for antidepressants have increased along with the rise in mental illness.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for the general population in the U.S. For college students, it’s the second leading cause of death.
In 2007 these statistics became all too real for the brothers of our Gamma Chapter at Duke University. A popular and highly regarded student, Stewie never showed signs of depression or intent to take his own life. Following the tragedy, the brothers grew closer and began to look inward, searching for answer to what they could have done differently. Their efforts became increasingly focused and eventually organized to become a Face Your Challenges, a program that encourages students to be comfortable seeking help with mental health problems.
We want to thank the brothers of Gamma Chapter, along with the Sanders family, for their willingness to share this difficult story. Our hope is that this story will spread awareness about mental health issues, with the ultimate goal of preventing future tragedies.
Yours in Sigma Nu,
Nathaniel Clarkson (James Madison)