The fall semester has officially started this past week, and with it, a whirlpool of emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety has exploded upon the Seawolf community. Now that we're all here, it seems to be a perfect time to discuss the issue of mental health at Stony Brook University, and how we as a campus can address the dearth of knowledge and resources available to college students across the country.
A recent New York Times article highlighted the prevalence of cases against various institutions (most notably Stanford, Princeton, and George Washington University, among other names), where the only known course of action offered by the mental health support staff on campuses was to take a leave of absence from the university, ultimately delaying a student's potential graduation and adding to their already-mounting anxiety for their future.
In today's day and age, it seems that campuses are reluctant to tackle the issues revolving around the mental health of their students head-on, and this lack of direct action has lead to dire consequences for the students involved, all for the sake of avoiding bad publicity and the potential for lawsuits that come with it.
It would appear that universities around the United States have forgotten their promise to provide a welcoming and accepting environment for the students that they choose to admit into their institutions—they deceive us with promises of providing aid to whoever needs it and then don't make good on that promise when students actually decide to reach out for help in regards to whatever crippling mental health issue is plaguing their sense of belonging.
The purpose of having psychological support such as CAPS on campus is to help those students who need a hand in fighting off the demons in their mind, however, those demons may appear in nature.
This is an especially important issue when midterms start rolling around (in about three to four weeks), as we'll all be too busy suffocating under the pressure of maintaining our GPAs and performing as best as we can on our exams to notice the potential for increasing rates of depression and suicidal thoughts in our community.
The pressure at Stony Brook can be unremitting throughout the fall semester with each and every one of us drowning in a rigorous schedule of coursework, devotion to a social life, and a never-ending hunt for internships and jobs to improve our resumes, but we have to try and spare a thought for those among us who feel that they are unwelcome here because of how they feel. We have to help those of us who suffer from the debilitating side effects of mental health degradation caused by the pressures of Stony Brook, because one day that might be one of us who needs help.
I realize that we all have our own problems, but we as Seawolves took an oath to take care of each other when we entered Lavalle Stadium for our freshman orientation (in my case, four years ago.) We have to do better with each other as students—if our administration can't divert resources towards combating the mental health epidemic sweeping across the country, including Stony Brook University, then we as Seawolves have to do our best to take care of each other when some of us feel that our whole world is crumbling around us. None of our accomplishments are worth anything if we fail to help those who need it most.