Nearly five years after her boyfriend’s suicide, Michelle Carter of Massachusetts was sentenced to prison after she convinced her late boyfriend Conrad Roy to kill himself via text messages.

Have you read the texts? They are gut wrenching. They are disgusting. The whole time I’m screaming while reading them, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” She could have been his life line.

Carter received five years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after Roy was found dead due to suicide in a car full of toxic gas.

Roy, 18 at the time, constantly battled depression and had previously attempted suicide in high school.

An article by USA Today stated Carter “showed no discernible emotion as she was taken into custody, though her shoulders sagged as she stood and prepared to be led away.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and only the second leading cause in people aged 15 to 24.

For the amount of effort Carter put into convincing Roy to go through with killing himself, she could have convinced him not to, and urged him to seek professional help.

There are multiple reasons why people don’t seek mental health therapy. I have personally battled with mental illness and can attest to these.

People are afraid of feeling vulnerable, because vulnerability makes people feel weak and a sense of shame, as if there is something wrong with them.

I almost wonder if she was battling with some sort of mental illness, or if she was simply that unaware as to the severity of the situation.

Her lawyers, however, are still trying to fight against her ruling, using the free speech card. Really? Do they not understand the fact that this kid could have still been alive if it wasn’t for her?

According to the NIMH, in 2016, “an estimated 2.2 million American adolescents aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment. Only 19 percent of these teens received care from a health professional.”

 Others are simply uninformed, or have a lack of insight. Nobody is taught how to deal with mental illness. While it’s a major part of life now with its acceptance, it’s not as commonly taught as math or science.

The lack of information given to students and parents is remarkable being that there are resources on every school campus.

Orange Coast College has an amazing team over at the Student Health Center. They provide short-term psychological care and crisis intervention, and can provide many other resources for students to seek mental health therapy beyond the health center.

It’s the best thing a person can do for themselves when in need of help. I urge anyone who is harboring dark thoughts, depressed or even finding themselves overwhelmed with the daily dealings of school and life, to seek out therapy.

I encourage people who aren’t dealing with any hardships, to take a step back and look around at the people they know, and to be aware of anything that might stand out from a fellow student, colleague or friend, and reach out to them.

Seeking therapy doesn’t mean that you’re broken, or that there is something wrong with you at all. The human mind is complex and sometimes need a guide to get along.

Roy’s story is remarkably devastating, especially knowing that he would still be alive today if the right steps had been taken.

You could save a life.

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