Last quarter, three students I was teaching spoke with me about their depression. Three of the 160 or so students I was teaching. This was the first time a student had spoken with me about their mental health. I was happy that these students felt that they could approach me. I was uncertain of what to say, beyond what I would say to a friend in the same situation. I was happy that these students assured me they had people (professional or not) to speak with. I was worried about the 157 other students. How many of them were struggling with depression and distress? These students who approached me were probably more likely to be seeking counselling – if they were comfortable speaking with me about their problems, they probably were alright with speaking to others.
However, most may not be. As classes get bigger and move online, the sense of community at a university will degrade. I won’t know my students. They won’t know me. They may not even know their fellow students. Is this an advised model of education for our youth as they become adults?