Dear Dean Jones,
I am writing to express my concern about the students here at NEMCC, based on my observations as well as my individual contact with students. I have become aware that a large portion of the student population appears to be suffering from depression, a common occurrence among college students. My observations mirror those of current research which has found that in the past 15 years, the rate of suicide tripled and depression has doubled in the general population (Tartakovsky.) In fact, more than 10% of college students have been diagnosed or treated for depression. The students that I have spoken with exhibit the classic signs of depression: changes in sleep patterns, changes in eating patterns, feelings of hopelessness, sad mood, and passive suicidal ideation.
This is not unusual for students who are experiencing the type of changes that occur during college, when they are dealing with an unusual amount of stressors; these include new lifestyles, new friends, new roommates, exposure to new cultures, and alternative ways of thinking (Tartakovsky.) When coping with these challenges, it is no surprise that students frequently feel inadequate and unprepared to manage the new environment that they are in. In addition, there is a great deal of academic competition that students experience, some for the first times in their lives. There is also a great amount of pressure for students to do well, and many of them are experiencing demands from their parents or from the students themselves.
There are some possible solutions to this problem; I suggest that at some point during each academic year, all students are administered a depression scale survey to evaluate their risk for depression and anxiety. In addition, the school can promote counseling services by having members of the mental health center present lectures and workshops about depression, how to identify it, and when to seek help. I would be happy to discuss this with you at length, and appreciate in advance your willingness to consider this matter.