A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from a Deac mom that was so powerful, I wanted to be able to share it. Said Deac mom gave her permission. Here goes:
You probably realize this even more than I do, but there is a great deal of anxiety and depression among our young people. Especially at a high-achieving school like Wake, kids are under a lot of pressure to do well and most don’t want – or don’t know how – to talk about their feelings or get help. My Deac was one of those kids.
I think I know my four kids pretty well, Betsy – I’m an involved mom. But when my Deac told us about their feelings of depression and anxiety, I was stunned. Our student has always worked hard and done well – they were a student leader in high school and committed to being one at Wake as well. My Deac was always busy, happy and go lucky – or so we thought.
I think it would be a great service for you to let other parents know that kids aren’t always able to express when they are struggling – and that we can’t always know when they are. I remember once rushing our student to the 24-hour urgent care when we came for Parents’ Weekend because they were so sick with the flu. That’s an easy one. But depression and anxiety are sneaky, pervasive and terrifying.
There is good help on campus (University Counseling Center, Student Health Service, etc.) and available resources in the Winston-Salem community, so that’s reassuring. We were lucky that our Deac told us what was happening in their life and that they had supportive friends who also helped as well. The important thing is that PARENTS NEED TO ASK. We can’t just check in on the progress of their classes, or how the pre-game went last night, or if the roommate situation has improved. It’s a tough question to ask about how their heart and head are doing – but we MUST.
Many thanks to Deac Mom for allowing me to share her message. Student Government had created a powerful video for Mental Health Awareness Week, and it is really worth a look. Watch it here.
One more personal health and wellbeing note for today: the Safe Office reminded me that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). They have a slew of SAAM activities and programs your students can participate in – more details here.