UPDATE (12/6/21 4:10 p.m.):
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU has issued a message after the events detailed in an anonymous letter did not come to pass.
“We are grateful there was not an incident on campus today (Dec. 6) as suggested in the anonymous letter the University had received. It is our sincere hope the person who wrote the letter has received the help they need. If not, please call the Carruth Center at 304-293-4431 so we can help you,” the message reads.
The school has chosen to resume normal operations but with additional safety measures. They urge those across campus to remain vigilant.
University Police Chief Sherry St. Clair said, “If you find yourself in a potentially concerning situation, call 911. By being alert and present, you are not only keeping yourself as safe as possible but keeping our community safer, as well.”
University Police said they will continue to monitor the situation.
Those struggling with mental health can contact these places for help:
- If you have thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- Veterans can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.
- And the LGBTQ+ community can call 1-866-488-7386.
ORIGINAL (12/5/21 7:00 p.m.):
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University is in possession of an anonymous letter describing content related to suicide taking place in public areas on campus.
In light of recent local and national school safety concerns, the university has issued a Community Notice about the situation, according to a press release.
According to WVU, there is no specific threat to any person or groups, but the letter notes Monday at noon and includes both outdoors and an indoor location, the Mountainlair.
The school states that the safety of the campus community is its highest priority, and it is taking the issue very seriously and has consulted with regional and federal public safety officials, as well as mental health experts.
The university is taking the following actions:
First and foremost, to the person who wrote the letter, the University cares about you and has resources available to help. While we do not know your personal circumstances, we do know this is a very stressful time of year and it can become overwhelming. You are not alone. There are several local and national resources available. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 or you can call the Carruth Center at 304-293-4431 so we can help you during this difficult time.
To our campus community, if you are aware of someone who is struggling with thoughts of self-harm and may be sharing their thoughts through letter writing, poetry or illustrations, please call 911 immediately.
The University has increased security measures across campus. However, if you see anything suspicious, call 911. You also need to be aware on how to protect yourself and others in case of an emergency. No matter the location, bystander awareness and quick action are critical in crisis situations.
Safety information can be found online about what to do in various situations, such as a suicide emergency. A few tips to keep in mind include:
- Be alert. Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Unplug from earbuds and earphones when walking outdoors and in public areas. Keep your head up and be aware.
- If you see something suspicious, say something. Call 911 or message the university through the LiveSafe app.
- If you are concerned about your personal safety or the safety of others, call 911.
- If you are not signed up for WVU Alert, you can do so to receive urgent messages from the university.
- Follow the WVU Safety and Wellness Facebook page and @WVUsafety on Twitter.
- You also can get updates from the university at the emergency website during emergency situations.
Also, mentalhealth.wvu.edu shares various resources and information for people struggling with mental health issues or anyone who knows someone who is struggling. In addition to the Carruth Center, students can access free, confidential assistance through the Crisis Text Line by calling 304-293-4431 and selecting option 1 or by texting “WVU” to 741741. There is an online therapy service called Talkspace that provides a secure, free platform for counseling. The university said it encourages anyone who needs assistance to talk with someone.
The university stated that it is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates, as necessary.