Mental Illness – What To Do On Campus
One of the more disturbing issues of the Tucson shootings is the mental state of the gunman. Story after story has described his odd behavior and run-ins at the community college he attended. Just as many stories have explained that a person who might be mentally ill does not necessarily exhibit violent behavior or commit a crime. How does one know if a person is mentally ill, whether there is cause for concern and what to do?
Why do we bring up this topic here? Because of the connection with a college setting. As news reports indicate, it is easy for a person who needs help to be overlooked.
Our advice to students:
- Know the code of behavior at your school
- Know who is in charge of student affairs, including phone number and e-mail address
- Know the process for reporting an issue of concern
- Find out what procedures are in place
- Understand what to expect once an issue has been reported
- Know what you need to do to follow up on an issue that has been reported
- Know whether your school offers counseling services
- Know the contact information for counseling services
- Do not be afraid to communicate your concerns about someone who might be mentally ill. Remember, an ill person is not necessarily a violent person who will commit a criminal act.
These tips can apply to professionals at news organizations as well.
Being a member of any community — college or professional — comes with responsibilities. The more you know, the more comfortable you will feel, and the more effective you will be in helping one another.