A Girl Fell Off The Fourteenth Floor !

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“A girl fell off the fourteenth floor!” was the response I got when I inquired about the multiple ambulances outside my dorm at the beginning of sophomore year. The truth of what happened was much more unsettling. Instead of an accident, the girl, Jenny, had actually jumped from her dorm window, leaving behind a note saying ending her life was the only way she saw to stopping her pain. I had known Jenny briefly when she was my Orientation Leader. By all accounts she was a cheerful girl who lights up any room she enters. Her friends and family all expressed shock and disbelief- there was no warning, no signs at all she was struggling or suffering. In midst of an outpouring of empathy from the student body, many students admitted that they also had suicidal thoughts, but likewise would never ask for help. Growing up as an Asian American, I was all too familiar with the stigma associated with mental illness. In high school, I watched my best friend resorting to self-harming when the pressure of college application became too much to handle. When she tried to tell her first generation immigrant parents about her depression, they merely told her depression is not real. Their biggest concern about her cutting was that no one should find out. Even educated parents like mine do not view depression as a real illness the same way they view diabetes or cancer. Having watched many friends struggle with mental illness, I have always wanted to make counseling more accessible to all.
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