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Dear Reader,

The most fundamental concern of the MIT community must, of necessity, be its own health. If we are to maintain this essential component of the university, we must first understand the system, what works, and what needs improvement.

The purpose of this special section of The Tech is to explore the wide range of health issues at MIT, mental health chief among them.

In these pages, we have invited campus opinion leaders to explain how their projects and programs contribute to the landscape of health at the Institute. An anonymous student columnist who used MIT Mental Health Services for the first time this year describes how taking the first step — asking for help — was the best decision of a school year, and how friends reacted when they found out. Additionally, two health educators give advice on simple ways to add wellness to your lifestyle.

Other columnists explain how health affects the life of MIT community members. In one column, the Graduate Student Council describes a new dental plan that will serve graduate students who have, for a year, had no coverage.

We have also reported on the issues that profoundly affect the well-being of those in our community, from a new alcohol training program to the rapidly growing MIT ambulance service. Elsewhere in the news section, The Tech explores how, in one interpretation, MIT’s suicide rate is below the national average for college-age students; but in another, it’s twice as high as the average for college students. And we explain how the free services that Mental Health Services provides help people who feel depressed, need motivation, or just want someone to talk to.

We hope that this section’s news stories, columns, and viewpoints will help improve your understanding of health in the community.

Angeline Wang

Contributing Editor, The Tech