We were pleased that the Minnesota Daily recently ran an article describing the scope of mental health issues on our campus. We admire how the Daily article highlighted the very real challenges and obstacles students often face — personally, professionally, academically — when dealing with mental health concerns.
We have all been touched in some way by emotional and psychological suffering. The 2010 Student Health Survey revealed that one in four students has been diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime. Those numbers are likely low as they don’t account for those who suffer without having sought professional evaluation. The University has taken a firm stand in support of students who are struggling with mental health concerns. From the president’s desk on down, staff, faculty, administrators and students across this campus have worked tirelessly in support of those who are struggling with these issues. And unlike a number of campuses, the University has really “walked the walk” in providing a number of important resources for students in need.
There are a number of important resources other than Boynton Health Service that all students — and those who interact with them — should know about. Among these are University Counseling and Consulting Services, which has been a national leader in providing students with personal counseling services for more than 75 years. Disability Services has also been at the forefront in providing and promoting access for all students, including those dealing with mental health diagnoses. The University’s chapter of the national student group Active Minds is a consistent voice of advocacy regarding mental health issues and works to de-stigmatize mental illness and promote tolerance and awareness.
All of these offices — in partnership with a number of other campus units — collaborate together as members of the Provost’s Committee on Student Mental Health, whose mission is to raise awareness about issues related to mental health, improve conditions on our campus for students with mental health conditions, and effect meaningful policy change. One of the committee’s accomplishments was the creation of a centralized online resource, www.mentalhealth.umn.edu, for students, parents, faculty, and staff. This site features information regarding campus and off campus resources, anonymous screening tools, interactive training on how to help students in distress, as well as additional resources.
Again, we admire the Daily’s effort to call attention to the vital student concern, and wanted to draw attention to the multiple other resources on campus committed to improving the lives of those in need.