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Kai Roberts faced a mental health crisis in college. Now he advocates against barriers to treatment

Kai Roberts (Pittsburgh Schenley graduate) was 17 years old when he entered Carnegie Mellon University in 2010 on a full tuition grant. By sophomore year, he began experiencing bizarre symptoms — heart palpitations, sleepless nights, intrusive thoughts and unexplained fears.

The next summer, his symptoms worsened. Just one month into his junior year, he was experiencing repeated panic attacks. As his fears escalated, he knew it was time to figure out what was going on and to do something about it.

In an urgent call to his mother, Kai told her everything.

“Get your things, you are coming home tonight,” she told him. He left school and stayed at his family’s home in Beltzhoover for the rest of the fall 2012 semester.

Kai’s mother, Yolanda Roberts, said getting that call from Kai at school trumped everything that was going on at the time. She left her shift as a Pittsburgh police officer to get him from school.

Kai’s experience is shared by many students across the country. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five young adults will experience a mental health condition in college. Like Kai, many do not seek help.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier, Kai Roberts faced a mental health crisis in college. Now he advocates against barriers to treatment.