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Growing Up, Getting Help

Growing Up, Getting Help

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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My second year at Juilliard, a girl in my viola studio jumped out her window. It was, of course, horrifying — but it was also a shock. The usual refrain floated around the cafeteria, "She seemed so happy!" Juilliard is a pressure cooker — there's no doubt about that — but what occurs to me now, is that, at the time, I would have had very little idea of where to go for help if I had been severely depressed. And given that students don't do the kind of work at Juilliard that might indicate emotional problems, it's hard to see how an adult could have seen what was going on with that particular student (does playing your Beethoven with particular passion indicate a problem, or a solution...). Since my tenure at Juilliard a thousand years ago, the mental health system has been utterly transformed, much like other colleges reacted after the tragedy at Virginia Tech a year ago. Today we're going to focus on those changes, particularly in Cornell's approach (which was before the VA Tech events). And we're going to talk to a professor from my other alma mater — the irreplaceable Tristan Davies at Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. He reads hundreds of pieces of creative writing — and has had to step in from time to time when a red flag appears.

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