Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 12, 2024

Mental health services are here for the community

By TERRY MARTINEZ | October 23, 2014

Anytime we lose a member of our community, we grieve. Yangkai Li was a member of our community, and we are grieving. Family, friends and faculty members who knew him are left wondering whether there was anything they could have done or said that might have made even the slightest difference. They ask themselves if they missed any signs.

Those of us who did not know him are left wondering if we should be grieving as well. We question whether we would know what to look for or what to do if a friend of our own was at risk. These are all unsettling feelings. There may be a wide range of emotions and lingering questions, all of which are very natural. They are part of a grieving process. We should reach out to one another to talk about the issue and offer support to one another, but please, let us not speculate or engage in misinformed gossip. Doing so hurts his family and friends and detracts from Yangkai’s memory.

While we will never know the answer to our questions, what we do know is that there are many factors that contribute to suicide, and we can all educate ourselves about the signs of distress and be ready to support each other. The Counseling Center has helpful information on how you might recognize students who may be distressed at web.jhu.edu/counselingcenter/worried/index.html.

Once you are educated, be ready to take action. You can reach out to various professional staff members in Student Life, including the Counseling Center and Residential Life, or to our partners in Campus Safety to talk about or report concerns. We will always follow up with any student concern.

Peer-to-peer support is available through residental advisors and A Place To Talk (APPT), and involvement in Active Minds provides you with a space to better understand mental health issues.

It is important now to reflect on how to help ourselves and others in times of distress. The most important thing to remember, whether you are concerned about yourself or about someone else, is this: You are not alone. Get help. It’s not in any way a sign of weakness to do so. It’s simply the right thing to do, and it makes a difference.

Please continue to reach out to one another. Support each other.

An opportunity to gather and remember Yangkai Li will be held on Friday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. in the Interfaith Center. A reception with Yangkai’s family will follow.

Terry Martinez is the Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Student Life at Hopkins. Martinez was invited by The News-Letter to write on this topic.


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