MSA addresses mental health

Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota Student Association is turning its attention to issues of mental health on campus, the Minnesota Daily reported last week. 
During last year’s elections, MSA leaders developed a five-point initiative to expand and improve mental health resources on campus. Now, MSA President Joelle Stangler said one of the first steps toward implementing that initiative is to meet with the Provost’s Committee on Student Mental Health to discuss the University of Minnesota’s bereavement policy.
This policy currently states that bereavement is a legitimate reason to miss class, but it allows individual instructors to determine which relationships the policy covers.
Moreover, students must explain the circumstances surrounding their loved one’s death and request opportunities to make up any missed coursework. 
MSA hopes to bring the University’s bereavement policy closer to that of Purdue University, which allows students a specific amount of bereavement leave that depends on their relation to a dead relative. 
We commend MSA for focusing on issues of student mental health, and we hope University officials will come to recognize the importance of introducing a standardized,
University-wide policy for bereavement rather than allowing individual instructors to decide for how long grieving students are excused from class. 
At the same time, issues of mental health are not limited to bereavement. To that end, we hope MSA will focus on students struggling with other issues, too. In particular, we feel that expanding resources to help students struggling with anxiety, whether chronic or otherwise, would be an excellent place to begin.