Santa Ono: I tried to take my own life twice

Santa Ono: I tried to take my own life twice
Posted at 10:23 AM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 10:48:49-04

CINCINNATI -- University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono spent Saturday at a fundraising event for 1N5, a mental health advocacy group. At the end of the event, Ono explained why the cause is so important to him -- he attempted suicide twice.

"My message tonight," he tweeted at 9:08 p.m. Saturday, "there should be no stigma for those with mental illness. I tried to take my own life 2X. We need to support each other."

His tweet was well received; students, staff and people unaffiliated with UC commented and thanked Ono for sharing his experience.

"@PrezOno as a staff member at UC, I'm so thankful you said this," Alex Fields tweeted. "Proud of your leadership and vulnerability. Our students need to see this."

Melissa Witt tweeted "@PrezOno It takes courage to share and kindness to help. I appreciate your courage and your kindness. So glad both my girls chose UC."

Ono continued to tweet on the topic, calling for better mental health services at schools due to a hike in mental illness among college students and asking people to donate or volunteer for the cause.

"With the incidence of mental illness at a 30-year high, we need to enhance counseling programs at our schools and colleges," he tweeted. "If we can reach more who are depressed, the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let's bring more light into the world.

"Please help combat teen mental illness by joining the 1N5 movement and contributing to their work  #SuicidePrevention."

Ono, 53, has served as UC president since 2012. He was named America's most notable university president in 2015 by Inside Higher Education. He has more than 7,000 followers on Twitter.