(WILX) – The University of North Carolina’s class of 2020 returned to campus for a belated commencement ceremony. As graduates celebrate, current students say they’re struggling with their studies.
Diya Patel, a student at UNC, said, “It’s an adjustment. Some days are harder than others, but you figure it out.”
Patel is a freshman at the school. She says coping with the COVID-19 pandemic in college has brought on challenges for the Carolina community. One student reportedly took their own life in their residence hall.
Patel said, “It hits me, it’s hitting me.”
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz emailed students Sunday evening, announcing a wellness day for students to address mental health.
In the letter, he says, “We are in the middle of a mental health crisis, both on our campus and across our nation, and we are aware that college-aged students carry an increased risk of suicide.”
Clare Landis is a responder for Peer2Peer. The student-led group offers free one-on-one sessions for UNC undergraduate and graduate students. She says she’s seen an uptick in calls over the past two weeks.
“It’s a really stressful time for students going through midterms and seniors trying to find jobs and freshmen trying to get adjusted,” she said. “it’s a lot in the fall and it’s a lot for everyone right now.”
Student Ishan Thaker wants to see stronger efforts from UNC.
Thaker said, “The school is trying, but as we see it is failing and needs so much more help.”
The chancellor says UNC is planning a mental health summit later this month.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide please tell someone, go to the emergency room or call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8255.
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