One is not the many: Wesleyan director responds to ‘Depressed faculty, students’

This opinion article is in response to the story “Depressed faculty, students reach out at PLNU” published Oct. 13.

I was both surprised and saddened by reading the article on faculty and student depression in last week’s edition of The Point. That one of my colleagues might have been going through deep depression, reach out to other members of the PLNU community, and not find help is disheartening.

Fortunately, I know that this is not a universal experience at PLNU. I cannot speak for others, but over the six-plus years at PLNU, my family and I have been frequent recipients of compassion, love and support from others in this community—including faculty, staff and students—in both good times and bad, when I have reached out for help, and even when I have not. In fact, I have never before been part of a community in which I have felt more love and support from others than here at PLNU. My hope is that others have found me likewise to be a support in times of trial, and I am deeply sorry for times when this has not been the case.

I also believe that we, as a community, are deeply committed to student well-being. Not only do we have fantastic ministers and professionals who care deeply for and are always ready to help students in Spiritual Development, Residence Life, the Wellness Center and other Student Development and other offices, but we also have a faculty that genuinely cares about students. Perhaps not all professors are as approachable as we might like, but many could be making more money elsewhere, and most have chosen to come to PLNU because they desire to work with and help students.

All that said, I recognize that we are not a perfect community, that often we do not effectively live up to our own ideals. That even just one member of our community—whether employee or student—would not find PLNU welcoming or loving or compassionate or helpful means that we do need to take time to pause, reflect and ask how we might be doing better. We can do better, we should do better and I pray we will.

Mark Mann is the director of the Wesleyan Center at PLNU.