GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) — People facing some of their darkest moments have made more than 20 million calls to the Suicide and Crisis Hotline since 2005.
In 2021, the number was the highest ever with more than 2.5 million calls.
Many of these calls were made by young men and women under the age of 25, transitioning into adulthood.
“It was a roller coaster. College is a different experience,” said freshman and NC A&T State University freshman Rey Leyva.
Adjusting to college life shows some freshmen at NC A&T how important mental health is.
“My friend’s mental health, my family’s mental health is important to me, so I try to monitor them every day,” Talayeah Young said.
From the Triangle, where parents and students at NC State University are asking for additional mental health resources after the deaths of four students, to the NC A&T campus where a 19-year-old student was lost on Friday, students are losing their peers.
Experts believe young people are struggling in part because of social media and classes focusing on difficult topics.
“What are they studying at university? They study climate change. They are studying school shootings. They study poverty. They study racial protests. It can all feel very cramped, frustrating and urgent,” said Ashish George of the North Carolina chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services tracks self-inflicted injuries statewide.
Young people aged 10-18 and 19-24 consistently have the highest rate of self-inflicted injuries.
Among these groups, young women were more likely to harm themselves.
“We don’t offer structure, routine and a sense of purpose to many young people. We leave them to their own devices,” George said.
The situation is so urgent that the head of the counseling department at Winston-Salem State University canceled our interview because a student was facing a mental health crisis.
WSSU began offering more counseling opportunities to students inside dorms and designated two Mental Health Days per year.
Proponents worry that without more widespread funding, it won’t be enough.
“I’ve even heard cases of people purposely exaggerating their mental health issues because they have milder issues, and they wouldn’t be able to see a therapist or counselor unless they said…” I’m suicidal “or things like that,” Georges said.
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