Part 4, Distance: Carleton University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology Mental Health Failures and my Suicide Attempt.

This section will need more work but there’s something I want to get outthere.

The workload and resulting “distance” this places between students/faculty/administration contributes to the isolation of each.

In December of 2019, ~3 months before my suicide attempt, I tried to reach out to the professor who had agreed to supervise my thesis. I had come across something which I knew to be related to his own research. Not only that but it was pretty interesting and unique in its own right. I sent him an email about it, thinking he would be interested. The email contained absolutely nothing about work or responsibilities or anything along those lines, I simply believed it might be nice to exchange a message or two about something unrelated to work. Maybe he did appreciate it, I can’t say  one way or another. Not receiving a response from him hurt and just added to the pile (proportionally, I would like to think) of “things going wrong” which eventually led to me attempting to take my own life.

Emails going unanswered are pretty common in academia. It’s something I think most students have accepted but that doesn’t mean it’s “ok”. It’s not, it’s detrimental to everyone involved. I can’t imagine a professor being happy about being forced to ignore emails as a consequence of being overburdened by work, and well, for the students I suppose that’s pretty self evident.

I have plenty of experiences like this, being forced to chase down faculty in order to be able to move forward with whatever work is at hand. Maybe this one example is enough.

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