When will UWC take notice of the serious mental health problem among their students? Each year, many students develop serious mental health issues with little or no support. The rigours of the IB and the unique UWC program create a huge mental health strain on students that takes years to recover from and some never do…
mounia abousaid committed suicide on dec. 18, 2016 (new mexico 2011)
hadil marzouq committed suicide on dec 17, 2016 (maastricht 2014)
colin achgill committed suicide on mar 22, 2014 (atlantic first year)
mbali mdlovu committed suicide on june 6, 2014 (Swaziland second year)
montoeli molefe committed suicide in may 2014 (new mexico 1992)
victor d amarilla canete committed suicide april 17, 2013 (usa 2005)
alex halperin committed suicide on apr 7, 2011 (adriatic)
asim butt committed suicide on jan 15, 2010 (hong kong, 1995)
kobelo zwane committed suicide on nov 7, 2009 (swaziland, 2008)
Open Letter to UWC USA Admin
We have not recovered from many of the potentially harmful and harmful decisions that have been made, that have almost been made. There are many things that are not addressed on campus, that have been neglected because they are tiring, because they’re taboo.
As people who live on this campus, we have personally seen the effects of the departure of our classmates. We have tried to recover as a class, as a group of people. But our cries for help are not addressed by those who have the power to change things; we have asked for change in mental health policies - which are the glue that connect all the problems that we have here. Ignoring them isn’t right. Waiting until a threat to life isn’t right. Putting people on impossible ground, threatening their place at this school because of mental issues isn’t right. You may have had your best intentions with dealing with mental health, but that isn’t enough. Change needs to happen; action is needed.
You know as well as the both of us that decisions were poorly made this year. We are asking for you to acknowledge this yourself, to see questioning students as well-intentioned, as looking to fix what this community desperately needs. We have made mistakes, and we acknowledge that. But you also have. We need to start from there, from that point of awareness to start a new process, a new way of understanding.
Respect means that each side listens and speaks and is listened to by the other party. Silence is not respect, not questioning is not respect. We need a fundamental base of respect between administration and students to fix this place, to rebuild the trust that has been lost because of the student-blaming and lack of accountability that has been seen throughout this year. If you accept your errors just as you recognize ours, we will have this baseline of respect. We will have found progress in this place that endlessly frustrates us with this lack of respect.
Yes, we are teenagers. However, if we are crying out for help, if we literally run away with a student to prevent her from going, if our campus hides her, if almost a 100 people go to see a classmate away, if almost the entire school shows up to a mental health community meeting, you have to understand that our points of view are VALID. There’s a reason we are crying out, there’s a reason we are ranting about our frustrations in our rooms late into the night. Our voices are not invalid because we don’t have titles, just like how your voices are not all-knowing and morally correct because you are the ones in power and have impressive titles. Understand this.
Students are not bad people because of absences, students are not bad people because they make mistakes. Students are only hurting themselves when they do this. However this whole system is set up where we are just attacked for this, where we are seen as delinquents when the only people we are truly hurting are ourselves. This community is hurting, and we need a fundamental level of respect. And right now, we feel like we don’t have that. This is why there’s a huge gap, why there’s a huge distrust, why there’s no motivation to attend classes, why students are breaking down. We are judged for everything we do, and we are not listened to. We are not taken seriously, which hurts us deeply when these cries are in earnest, when they are true and valid. There’s a reason we are hurting.
And that’s what happens when a school takes a missing flag, a superficial thing on campus, more seriously than the urgent issues affecting students. We have lost classmates and have seen unfair decisions been made. Yet you are not accountable to most of us. You have blamed us but we haven’t seen any change.
We need respect to have this conversation, yet we are unable to even start it.
As students, we realize we are imperfect.
Acknowledge that you are imperfect as well.
We are accountable for our actions. Can you be accountable for yours?
In Puebla, Mexico on December 8th, 1992 at midday, a passenger in a vehicle, who prefers to remain anonymous, observed and photographed a strange unidentified flying object outside the passenger’s window. This incident occurred during the height of the Mexican UFO wave of 1992. Note the very close approach of the craft in this case.