Campus in need of more resources

According to Higher Education Today, “data indicates that in the past year, three out of five students experienced overwhelming anxiety, and two out of five students were too depressed to function.” Out of the students experiencing mental health issues, only ten to fifteen percent seek services at their counseling center. This can affect students’ academic performance, social life, sleeping patterns and much more. Our generation is experiencing higher levels of stress than any other generation which could be from the pressure that college life and being on our own for the first time.

Mental illness is treatable and suicide is preventable. Suicide is the second most cause of death among students. College campuses need to have more resources to help break the stigma around mental health and help treat it. Forbes reports that with the number of students who are experiencing mental health issues, there is not enough university mental health services provided and it is going to become even more strained in the future. UW-Whitewater needs to find a proactive program that helps address this growing problem.

There are programs that the university can put together through their campus and then external programs to help students as well. UCLA created the STAND program, which has a mental health tracker, treatments, online therapy study with certified support and much more. Implementing this at some level on the UW-Whitewater campus would be beneficial and help grow awareness for mental health and lessen the stigma. Some universities are turning to external programs such as Therapy Assistance Online (TAO). This is completely online and the university pays for the enrollment of their students. It is an interactive program that provides guided activities to help overcome anxiety and depression and other mental health issues. It has weekly exercises and videos to do and watch and you can videoconference every week. This makes it easy for students to get treatment on their own time and not have to wait for therapy appointments. If UW-Whitewater implemented this, students could have access to therapy any time and would not need to wait three to four weeks because of how overworked the counselors are here.

UW-Whitewater does have a campus group called Active Minds on campus. This is a group that is on a lot of college campuses, raising awareness for mental illness. They do campus awareness campaigns, events, advocacy, outreach, and more. Everything they do is great, the only problem is, is that most college students on our campus have not heard of them. If UW-Whitewater would help promote this organization by helping them put on more events, advertise their organization so more students would know about them, it could help a lot of students.

While these programs and campus groups can only do so much, they are a step in the right direction for the UW-Whitewater campus. UW-Whitewater should give more students chances to speak and receive treatment for their mental health problems. Suicide should not be the second leading cause of death for young adults and students should feel comfortable talking to someone and know that their university provides them the resources to do it. Whether it is from face to face therapy sessions or online interactive programs and clubs. Students should know they have a place and that they are not alone. ​

– Jamie Fricke,

UW-Whitewater student

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