by Co Clark

I’m sure many of you have seen a slew of posters around campus with the goal of assuring people with thoughts of self harm or suicide that they are “not alone” and that there are “resources available” for them. I don’t really mind them; I like how they name the issue (suicide and self harm) instead of using mental health euphemisms that I’ve seen on other posters. However, the list of numbers and organizations on the poster make no mention of which hotlines and crisis lines may call the police on a suicidal person, nor does it intentionally include crisis lines that have committed to not calling the police on these folks. 

Now, don’t get me wrong — they obviously won’t call the police on every single person every single time, and this doesn’t mean they should never be used. It simply means that there is a higher inherent danger for marginalized communities — especially BIPOC and disabled communities — who are disproportionately affected by police and state violence.

One of the most popular non-carceral crisis lines (and my personal favorite) is the Trans Lifeline. The Trans Lifeline is a by-and-for trans organization that not only has a crisis hotline, but gives out microgrants for surgeries and name changes. They also commit openly and explicitly on their website to not calling the police on a person in crisis without their consent. I want to make the most obvious point; Wooster needs to acknowledge the problem of police violence by at least the simple act of specifying which mental health resources will not call the cops on a suicidal person. 

However, there is a broader point that capitalism and its pillars, which broadly include academia, do little to help people exit prolonged crises; instead, they contribute to them. How many times have you had a friend fall asleep in class because of homework, class, clubs and a minimum wage job? How many times have you been denied accommodations? How many times have you and your friends had to use humor to cope with oppressive levels of classwork, homework and regular work? This should not be normalized, nor should it be dismissed as a result of laziness or a lack of work-life balance. It’s never that simple. 

If you’ve been looking at the world, at your life, at your workload and feel like you’re drowning, I’ve been there. Heck, I am basically there right now. And I know it’s not a moral failing; it is a byproduct of the way the system was designed. You are not the problem, but there is a chance for all of us to be part of the solution. By sharing information and resources, seeking the truth, giving what we can, demanding what we need and are not receiving, there is a chance to shift the order of things. Things have not always been this way, and all empires must fall.

Written by

Zach Perrier

Zach Perrier is a Viewpoints Editor for the Wooster Voice. He is from Mentor, Ohio and currently is a junior History major.