We wanna be part of the solution, not part of the problem that brings on the kind of pressure that adds to their issues. That’s all.


Hi everyone. I’m Dr. Pam. Cox-Otto, I’m back from Italy. I’m not happy about that, but I am glad to be talking with you. School will be starting shortly. For many of you, it’s early August. Some of you it’s late August and for a few of you it’s September and maybe even a little later than that. But before we get started and this semester, I wanna take a moment to talk to you about the state of your students.

And you may ask why am I talking about the state of our students? I’m talking about it for the very simple fact that while you come back, many of you may have been back in spring or summer. And for some of you, this is the first time you’ve been back since the start of the pandemic. And you might think, oh great, we’re all back It’s all sunshine and lollipops. And the answer is it Isn’t. 

What you need to know is that since we began the pandemic, the numbers of people who are dealing with stress, depression, suicidal thoughts have gone way up. What that means is, one in every 10 of your younger students is dealing with some kind of depression. That number is up from previous years. The other thing you need to understand is that that number is even higher among students who identify as mixed race. So it means that we’ve got a lot of students whoare vulnerableand maybe even more than we’ve ever seen as vulnerable.

The other thing to realize is, the number of people who say that they have mental illness of some kind is up. So that nearly one out of every five adults identifies with that statement. And more than that, when you talk about suicidal thoughts, those numbers are up. It’s less than a percent gang, but it’s still significant. So what I’m trying to tell you is this, we’re coming back to school, it’s fall. That’s normally a time of great joy and excitement, and I hope it will be this year for you as well. But realize that more students-than ever are vulnerable, they are dealing with a sense of loss.

They’re dealing with a sense of sadness. Mental health issues are real and they’re getting worse. And it means that those who come to us are going to be more vulnerable than ever before. And I guess the thing I’m trying to tell you is tell your faculty, your staff, your leadership, that everyone needs to make an effort to be warm, to be welcoming, and to have their eyes open, looking for students who are struggling.

We wanna be part of the solution, not part of the problem that brings on the kind of pressure that adds to their issues. That’s all. I didn’t mean to be a downer, but I want you to go into this fall with your eyes wide open. Take care. That’s it for today