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“When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming together it is the beginning of reality.”Helder Camara

Angel Oak Tree, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Photo: pinterest.com

Bristol University, where seven students have killed themselves in less than 18 months. Photo: Olaf Protze / Getty Images

Dear Prof. Brady,

Greetings. I hope this note finds you in good heart. I am writing to thank you for your recent reflection about the tragic cluster of suicides of students at your university in an interview with the Guardian. Thank you for sharing your candid views with us. It is refreshing to note a vice-chancellor speaking frankly on this heartbreaking subject.

But as you point out: “Unfortunately this is a global sectoral issue. If you look over the last five to eight years across the UK, but equally in Canada and the US, the number of students seeking help for and declaring mental health issues has almost tripled.”

You have identified some of the possible reasons for this continuing and deepening crisis, such as the social media, student debt, desire for perfection, uncertain future, the world in turmoil, etc.

All of the above reasons are true, but in my opinion this is not the full story, the story that somehow the universities themselves, wittingly or unwittingly, are responsible for making.

The two main reasons that I believe were omitted from your list are: