Letters to the Editor

Having known Terry Klugman, I just wanted to contribute some thoughts on his life. His death is truly a tragedy. Terry was someone who had serious difficulties, and it is unfortunate that he never found the help that he needed, even when help was available. It is regrettable that mental health problems still have such a stigma in our society. Perhaps it is because we are frightened of what we don’t understand, and because the mind is essential to what makes us human. It is tragic when any lives are lost to disease, and this case is no different, especially because Terry had so much to live for. I am not naïve in thinking that Terry was tremendously popular on this campus. But I think that anyone who got to know him learned that Terry tried to be a good friend to everyone he knew, in the best way he knew how. Although his actions at times may have reflected the disease, I will never forget the good person underneath.

Benjamin Blond ’08


Counseling Center is an available resource

All of us at the Counseling Center send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Terence Klugman. After reading about his struggles and death in the Nov. 2 issue of The Student, we want to offer some facts about Bipolar Disorder to inform any concerned students. We hope that students can gain a better understanding of the illness, its treatment and resources available on campus.

Bipolar Disorder is an illness that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to function. Key here are the facts that the mood and energy shifts are unusual and the person’s ability to function is compromised. Bipolar Disorder is not the ups and downs in mood that most, if not all, of us experience from time to time. It is a condition that can vary in severity and can persist over time. The disorder can consist of depression along with episodes of mania. These disturbances in mood interfere with academic functioning, personal care and relationships. It is a medical problem that a person cannot just “get over” without appropriate treatment.

Bipolar Disorder can be successfully treated. Treatment typically consists of medication to stabilize the mood and other symptoms and psychotherapy (“talk therapy”) to improve functioning and to support the treatment process. With treatment, people with this disorder have been able to lead full and productive lives. Treatment frequency and duration are based on the individual’s needs and condition.

This disorder occurs in about 1% of the general population and is equally experienced by males and females. The average age for the first episode of mania is typically the age of many college students � about 20 years of age. There is strong evidence that there is a genetic influence in this illness. Most people have recurrent episodes throughout their lives. Therefore, it is a mistake for a person to discontinue treatment without medical supervision.

The Counseling Center staff consists of psychiatrists (M.D.’s who can prescribe medication) and psychotherapists. We provide a comprehensive evaluation of students who come with a range of concerns. If it seems that medication is indicated to address the problem, the student is referred to one of the psychiatrists who is on staff at the Counseling Center. We encourage students to come in to speak with one of us if you are concerned about yourself or about someone else. Meetings at the Counseling Center are confidential.

The NIMH website contains a detailed booklet about Bipolar Disorder. Information about this and other mental health issues can be found at www.nimh.nih.gov.

Jacqueline Bearce

Director of the Counseling Center