Battling an unseen enemy
For many years – far too many – mental health issues on campuses across North America have been “on the radar” as a growing concern. However, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which has been the nebulous nature of diseases of the mind, the programs intended to identify and help those who are battling an unseen enemy have not always been as effective as hoped.
The numbers don’t lie, nor are they pretty. Researchers tell us that as many as one in four young people of university age may suffer from mental illness – depression, anxiety, and stress – to more serious bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. One in 10,000 young people aged 14-24 will attempt suicide, which, after accidents, is the leading cause of death among young people.
The stark realities of those grim statistics were underscored when a series of tragedies rocked Queen’s between March 2010 and April 2011. Several students died, some of them by suicide. In the wake of this unprecedented crisis, Principal Woolf has moved decisively to deal with and seek solutions to the underlying causes of the mental health concerns that have caused so much pain and suffering among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University alike.
In our cover story this issue (“New hope for the one in four,” p. 18) Kingston writer Alec Ross reports on the groundbreaking initiatives Queen’s has embarked upon as the University becomes a world leader in dealing with campus mental health issues.
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ON THE MEND. Professor Emeritus (History/Kinesiology) Geoff Smith, an occasional editorial contributor to the Review, is resting at his Kingston home after undergoing not one, but two, successful hernia operations – Geoff never does anything halfway! He’s keeping busy with his painting and photography and by writing Letters to the Editor of The Globe and Mail and sundry other publications. However, as always, he welcomes emails from former students and colleagues, who can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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A GOOD FRIEND OF THE REVIEW. Queen’s lost one of its most distinguished scholars and the Review one of its best friends when Professor Emeritus (Classics) Ross Kilpatrick died on Feb. 24. Ross, a Yale grad who was world-renowned in his field, taught at Queen’s for 42 years.
I regret that I never had the good fortune to be one of his students, but I got to know him after I became Review editor in 1986. It was always a pleasure to chat with Ross; he “knew his stuff,” as they say, and was my “go-to guy” on all matters having to do with Latin and Classical Studies. After his retirement, he had become a popular speaker on broad Queen’s topics (and a gifted pianist) at Alumni Branches. He was unfailingly kind, patient, considerate, and erudite in all the very best ways. Ross was also a people person with a lively sense of humour ... no matter how inane some of the questions asked by people like me, whose Latin was lackin’.
For example, he listened patiently and without comment on that day back in the spring of 2009 when I called him to ask if he could suggest a heading for the Review’s campus news pages. “I’m looking for something Latin that sounds classy, even if it’s not,” I said.
He mused for only a few moments before offering his suggestion: “Quid Novi?” I liked the sound of it, although I hadn’t the faintest idea what it meant. “It’s kind of a Latin version of what Bugs Bunny is asking when he says, ‘What’s up, doc?’” Ross explained.
And that’s how the Review’s campus news pages came to be called “Quid Novi?” Whenever I see that heading, I smile and think of Ross Kilpatrick. He was the quintessential “gentleman scholar,” and he will be missed.
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WE STAND CORRECTED . . . WELL, SORT OF The cutline below the photo of Queen’s national champion women’s soccer team (“Soccer Gaels Make History,” Issue #1-2012, p. 11) noted that the team was the first since 1924 to win “back-to-back Canadian titles.” An alumnus who doesn’t want his name mentioned called to tell us this was incorrect. “The men’s cross-country teams won national championships back-to-back in the years 1979-1980 and 1980-81 and in 1983-84 and 1984-85,” he advised. When I checked the records, I found he was wrong about the former, right about the latter.