Graduate students to vote on mental health resolution

The resolution is a follow-up from last year’s and requests expanded mental health services.

David Clarey

A graduate student resolution calling for a comprehensive reworking of mental health services at the University of Minnesota is set to be voted on next week.

The resolution comes a year after the Council of Graduate Students pushed a similar resolution asking for “reasonable access” to mental health services. The current resolution requests an “integrated mental health care system” and separate drop-in counseling sessions.

Last week, Boynton Health and Student Counseling Services announced the reduction of waitlists for services.

Jonathan Borowsky, COGS speaker and resolution co-author, acknowledged the situation has improved but said it’s important to continue the trend.

Borowsky said expanding the services could remove restrictions on the number of appointments — capped at 11 for a year — and could limit the number of students sent to clinics outside of the University.

“While people seem to be talking about this issue more, a lot more needs to be done,” said Christina Mondi, chair of the COGS Mental Health Committee. “What seems to be lacking from our perspective is a sense of long-term systematic planning.”

Mondi said they are reiterating some of their requests from the previous resolution, like keeping waitlists short over the semester.

Another request is for a voluntary screening at different points throughout college, when students typically experience more stress, Mondi said.

“The idea being that students could voluntarily choose to participate in a screening that kind of assesses their mental health risk,” she said.

Dave Golden, Boynton Health’s director of communications, declined to comment on the resolution until the clinic officially receives it later this month.

Golden said results from their post-mental health treatment surveys show that patients on average rated their care a 9.3 out of 10. Ninety-five percent said they would recommend their provider to someone else.

Borowsky said he’s heard good things about the quality of Boynton’s care as well, but hopes their resolution will push for expanding what is offered for students.

“The concerns aren’t with the quality of care offered, but with the scope of what they’re [able] to treat in the clinic,” Borowsky said. “I think that we’re all kind of on the same team.”

Mondi said she expects the resolution to pass, and hopes it leads to more tangible results than their last resolution.

“We really do want to see more than just discussion about this, we want to see people starting to act on some of this,” Mondi said. “We want to overcome complacency.”

The COGS general forum assembly will vote on the resolution on December 19.