By Claire Colbert, CNN
The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill announced Sunday, World Mental Health Day, it is canceling classes Tuesday to observe what it called a “Wellness Day.”
In a message posted from Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz, the university said it is “taking a moment to acknowledge and reflect on the seriousness of mental health illness and the challenges we face as we wrestle with the stress and pressures of our world today.”
In the wake of two student suicides in the past month, Guskiewicz said the decision to observe a Wellness Day was due to “a mental health crisis,” an elevated suicide rate among college-aged students, and after consultation over the weekend with students and faculty leaders.
“I encourage every student to use this time to rest and to check in with each other during that day. Reach out to a friend, a classmate, or colleague and ask them, ‘Honestly, how are you doing?'” Guskiewicz said in the statement.
“I think it’s good that they’re recognizing that something is going on,” one student told CNN affiliate WTVD, acknowledging the recent student suicides. Another student told WTVD that she has talked to a number of people who say they’ve gone through suicidal phases.
Guskiewicz said the university is pulling together various resources to offer throughout the week for students who need information, connection, or a place to process their experiences. The university is also planning a mental health summit for later this month and launching a campus-wide mental health awareness campaign.
To get help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There is also a crisis text line. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.
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CNN’s Gregory Lemos and Alex Medeiros contributed to this story.