Posted tagged ‘suicide’

No more unanswered cries for help

October 3, 2010

I believe that for most people the student experience is a happy one. It is a time to develop one’s potential and make friends, and most of us leave university with good memories. But it is not like that for absolutely everyone. For a small number of people it is a lonely experience, or a frightening one, or a humiliating one. If they are able to turn to someone for support and help, all these things can be overcome; but sometimes no-one seems to be there for them.

A few days ago Tyler Clementi, a freshman (first year) student in Rutgers University, New Jersey, committed suicide after his sexual encounter with a man was unknown to him streamed live on the internet; his roommate and one other student have been charged with invasion of privacy. Clementi was a gifted musician with good prospects, but the humiliation of the webcast was apparently more than he could bear, and he could not or did not find anyone to whom he could turn for help or reassurance.

The story is a tragic one, but unfortunately not unique. And what it tells us is that it is vital for all of us who are in higher education (and I am sure in other walks of life) to keep an eye out for those who may be depressed or uncomfortable or in despair, or who may be victims of bullying or abuse. And it is important for universities and colleges to offer support to all who may need it in this way. In this context, it is also worth mentioning again the ‘Please Talk‘ campaign that is run in Irish higher education.

And for those who feel pressure or anguish of any kind, it is important to say that they need not be alone, and that there are many out there willing to talk and help. Including this writer.