An epidemic among young adults puts college educators on the front lines of mental health

Just before final exams last month, I sent a private chat to one of my students during a class Zoom meeting. He hadn’t handed in any assignments this semester and was attending class meetings sporadically, at best. He responded: “I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch this semester. … I’ve been in a dark place and wanted to end things.” I gave him my mobile number and asked him to call me after class. He assured me that he wouldn’t “do anything extreme” at this point, because he was “feeling better.” After our conversation, I sent him the counseling center email, a suicide hotline number and pleaded with him to share his struggles with his parents and to set up a counseling appointment.


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