University Minister Urges Christians to Pray for Students During Winter Months Because of the Depression and Increased Suicide

Baptist Campus minister Brian Musser counsels a student in his office at Drexel University. Photo by Hair Kelley

Some winters are harsher than others, and for university students they can be especially challenging, says Brian Musser, Baptist campus minister at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa.

Every January, as he prepares for the return of college students for the winter term, he finds himself praying harder and asking for more prayer for the students because of the depression and pressure that often seems to accompany the cold season.

“More students are prone to suicide during the months of January and February,” explained Musser, who noticeably feels the pressure of caring for those under his charge. He has served as a campus minister for more than 13 years and has done more student memorials during the month of February than any other time of the year.

“I am really glad I am here to help the university through these things,” he noted, his apparent sadness showing as he spoke.

Suicide deaths are an issue all year long, he explained. But for many who weren’t socially able to handle the new life changes, it happens during their first months of the academic year. During winters, suicides occur more due to “an extended hopelessness over the weary months.”

He stressed his hope, nonetheless: “Through Christ, there are so many misdeeds that students can recover from — as long as they preserve their lives!”

Musser related three areas where he monitors students’ wellbeing during the winter months: academically, relationally and weather-related.

Academically, there is “a confluence of multiple struggles, especially for freshmen” who find college much harder than high school and receive their first college grades during this time, he said.

“They naturally want to do better academically, but if they struggle again, this completely knocks the hope out of them,” he shared.

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Source: Baptist Press