State of Sewanee: University mental health and the Let’s Talk campaign

Garrett Lucey (C’19), Mac Bouldin (C’19), and Mary Margaret Murdock (C’19) lead a panel discussion for Let’s Talk. Photo by Olivier Mbabazi (C’22).

By Mac Bouldin, Garrett Lucey, and Mary Margaret Murdock
Contributing Writers

It’s time to talk about mental health. For too long we have allowed ourselves and those around us to struggle with anxiety, depression, and other issues of mental health in the confines of isolation and silence. The reality is that anyone struggling with these issues is not alone. Many members of our community face these very challenges every day. Furthermore, these issues do not begin or end at the gates of the Domain. They exist on every campus and in every community everywhere, regardless of how visible they may be. However, Sewanee is a community unlike any other, and we have a unique opportunity to be a part of the solution.

Let’s Talk aims to normalize discussion on mental health, communicate that no one struggles alone, and draw attention to the resources available to students. After the successful launch of the Let’s Talk video and panel discussion, we hope to involve more voices and ideas in the campaign moving forward. If you have ideas, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us.

We cannot face these problems alone. Too often we feel that the only solution is to keep quiet, grit our teeth, and keep moving forward no matter the cost. Sometimes the result is an attempt to conceal these feelings by drinking or quarantining ourselves in a dorm room. When we do this we deprive ourselves of the real remedies available to us, and inadvertently encourage others to do the same.

Since its inception, our community has been guided by the principles set forth by our motto, Ecce Quam Bonum, or “Behold how good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.” We have a duty to uphold these principles by no longer allowing any member of our community to struggle alone. So let’s bring issues of mental health out of the dark so that we can have a real conversation about how we can leave this place with not only minds capable of dealing with the complex intellectual and scholarly problems that we will face in the greater world, but the emotional and personal ones as well.

We founded the Let’s Talk mental health awareness campaign in hopes that it would help our community to achieve these goals. However, we did so knowing that these issues are in no way limited to our community. Sewanee is genuinely a special place, so let’s use it to start a dialogue about mental health that we can carry with us wherever we go. All we have to do is start the conversation. So, Let’s Talk.