**Mental Health Crisis Grips University of Wisconsin-River Falls Campus as Students Return from Winter Break**

River Falls, Wisconsin – As students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls return from winter break, the campus is facing a troubling mental health crisis that has been reflected in places across the nation.

The recent deaths of three students – Isabella Chavira, Sabrina Hagstrom, and Jasmine Petersen – have left the university community reeling. While each woman’s obituary cited struggles with depression leading to their tragic deaths by suicide, there appears to be no direct connection between them, adding to the challenge of understanding why these events occurred within a relatively short timeframe on a campus of just 5,000 students.

In response to the alarming pattern of suicides, the university administration, led by Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Laura King, has been compelled to provide enhanced support to students, families, and staff. Following the fourth student death, which occurred during the extended Thanksgiving break, the campus community was deeply shaken.

Efforts to address the mental health crisis have included proactive measures such as identifying at-risk students and providing weekly outreach, as well as forming committees to develop comprehensive support plans for students returning to campus. The heightened focus on mental health is also evident in the introduction of new initiatives like “Mental Health Mondays,” aimed at creating a space for students to engage with counselors and support groups.

Despite the tragic losses, there is a sense of resilience and commitment within the university community. Both Provost David Travis and parents of the deceased students have expressed gratitude for the steps taken by UW-River Falls to prioritize mental health and provide necessary support to those in need.

The rise in suicide rates among teens and young adults in Wisconsin underscores the urgency of addressing mental health challenges on college campuses. The lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for universities to reassess their approach to supporting students’ emotional well-being.

As UW-River Falls prepares for the upcoming semester, there is a mix of anticipation and apprehension. While there is a desire to forge ahead, the memory of the recent tragedies serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of ongoing efforts to promote mental health awareness and support within the campus community.

In the face of adversity, the university remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering a safe and supportive environment for all students, faculty, and staff. The tragic losses have sparked a national conversation on mental health on college campuses, underscoring the need for continued vigilance and proactive measures to prevent future tragedies.