CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article misattributed the final quote to Allen O’Barr. It was actually said by Taylor Swankie. The article has been changed to reflect this. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.
Freshman Taylor Swankie won her school’s geography bee two weeks after her father committed suicide. She was the valedictorian of her eighth-grade class that same year.
Since her father’s death in 2006, Swankie has continually worked to defy her small town’s low expectations, but she still struggles every day to cope with her father’s suicide and its stigma.
4.8 percent of students seriously contemplated suicide
11.8 percent of students visited Counseling and Wellness Services
75 percent were treated at CWS
25 percent were referred to therapists in the community
Swankie, one of the members of Rethink: Psychiatric Illness, a living-learning community that was created just last year within UNC’s Connected Learning Program, spoke on Saturday at the group’s mental health training program in Graham Memorial.
The Connected Learning Program will be eliminated next year due to budget cuts, but the group’s members said they hope to continue dispelling myths about mental illness even after the program ends.