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Standing Together

Friday, December 5, 2014

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Dear Tulane Community:

This was the most moving and extraordinary week of my presidency at Tulane.

Yesterday, we came together as a Tulane family to learn how we can increase awareness, outreach, care, compassion and support for our fellow students and colleagues who may be struggling with mental health issues.

At the Pocket Park gathering, through the webinars, at the candlelight vigil and in numerous emails, many of you opened your hearts to me and shared your personal stories. I have gained much insight and perspective from this and witnessed, once again, the depth of compassion and true character of the Tulane community. I thank you.

I want you to know that as your president I will continue to devote myself and the resources of our university to addressing this issue. We are currently providing more training for faculty and staff on mental health and suicide prevention. Our Counseling and Psychological Services provides students with both Ph.D. and Master-credentialed counselors supported by psychiatrists from the School of Medicine. Student Resources and Support Services also provides ongoing individualized support for students who are struggling with any type of issue.

Nearly one in five Americans suffers from some type of mental illness each year. Often this can become more acute during adolescence and early adulthood when faced with the added stress of living away from home and meeting the demands of school and work.

The important thing for our students to remember is that they are not alone. So many parents, faculty, staff and alumni from around the world have written me out of concern for our students. They are greatly loved and cherished not only by the campus community but also by a worldwide family.

While this has been an incredibly difficult semester, there is no reason not to have faith and hope for a better tomorrow for all of us. I am convinced we will emerge from this a stronger, closer and more supportive community.

Signature of Mike Fitts