The freshman in my office had finally summoned the courage to seek help. He was depressed and not eating or sleeping well. Because he had fallen behind in his classes, he was in danger of failing. He acknowledged cutting himself and had contemplated suicide.

An accomplished student from a close-knit family, he sailed through high school and had been excited to attend Northwestern University, his father’s alma mater. Now, he was reluctant to tell his family about his problems for fear of disappointing and burdening them.

He is not alone: Colleges and universities are facing a mental health crisis. In the 20 years that I have worked as a psychiatrist at Northwestern’s Counseling and Psychological Services, the number of students seeking services and the severity of their concerns has increased, not only at our school, but across the nation.