Late January I’m reminded of the time I taught an introductory course in persuasion at a nearby university. I don’t know why, but a significant number of seniors filled out the roster. Challenging and fun at the same time, I kept my learning curve just ahead of my students.
One day, mid-semester, one of my students disappeared. He just didn’t show up at class. Being a senior, he needed the hours to graduate. His loss, I thought, and hoped he studied classmate’s notes for the exam. Weeks passed…final papers came….and my long-lost student showed up.
Irritated, I put on my stern face and asked that he stay after class.
He stayed behind and waited. Something, perhaps his guardian angel, stepped in and opened my eyes. “Are you ok? I’ve missed you. What’s been happening?” came from my mouth.
“I’ve been in bed,” he said. “I’m scared. My dad thinks I’m going to graduate…he’s looking forward to coming. I can’t disappoint him.”
“In bed…when did this start?” I asked. Then I heard the story…a trigger event. A year ago in February, his mother died. He hadn’t been to any of his classes.
There should be no shame in admitting depression, no shame in seeking help. Being knowledgeable about signs and symptoms of it is a gift that you can share: with knowledge you can become an advocate for yourself and others.
Mental health literacy is vital…it *can* save a life.