Fundamental health services

The benefits of meeting Boynton’s needs for mental health care outweigh the minimal cost.

Editorial board

 

Student demand for mental health care at the University of Minnesota has outgrown current resources. Last year, the Minnesota Daily reported that Boynton Health Service’s Mental Health Clinic was “at capacity” with weeks-long waiting lists. The problem still persists, as the Daily reported last week, and limited financial resources could keep it that way for a while.

Boynton has announced plans to build a mental health clinic on the St. Paul campus, eliminate the co-pay for mental health visits and hire six new full-time staff members. They estimate that new staff members will allow them to serve about 800 more students per year and eliminate long waits for mental health care. However, with increases to mental health care come increased expenses for Boynton, which is funded through student services fees. Boynton requested $383,412 in additional funding from the Student Services Fees Committee to eliminate the co-pay and hire additional staff. In its final recommendations, the fees committee only funded the co-pays and four of the six additional mental health professionals.

While students and health professionals can agree there is a demand to be met, it seems we cannot agree on how to fund increased mental health care. While student services fees are already set to increase by about $38 in the 2013-14 school year, fulfilling Boynton’s initial request for $383,412 in mental health funding would only cost students $1.30 more. For less than a cup of Starbucks coffee, we can fund all of the requested additional staff members in the Boynton Mental Health Clinic and increase access to care for all students.