Connect with us

Health

A New Bill in Florida Tackles Mental Health Awareness, But There’s Still a Lot More To Do

College campuses are foregoing client-therapist relationships and prioritizing risk-management—treating students as potential liabilities rather than human beings.

Published

on

Mental health is an often overlooked and growing issue on college campuses across the country. It’s normal, even expected, that students experience anxiety when moving to a new place, meeting new people and going through an overall change in lifestyle. Despite this shared experience, many students are hesitant to seek treatment for mental health issues. One college student is trying to change that.

With the help of Rep. Emily Slosberg, a member of the Florida House of Representatives, Florida Atlantic University student Jon Carter inspired a bill that will encourage students with mental health issues to seek help. The bill, which is still going through revisions in the Florida House, will require all Florida state schools to hold an annual “Mental Health Awareness Week” with programs and presentations to inform and encourage students to take advantage of the resources available to them.

One of Carter’s friends and classmates at FAU committed suicide a few years ago, so both Carter and Rep. Slosberg, who is also an FAU alumna, are hoping this bill will eliminate stigmas and taboos surrounding mental health.

This bill is a great first step in the fight against mental health stigmas on college campuses. It serves as the beginning of the laundry list of changes needed to improve mental health on college campuses.

There can be obstacles on the road to treatment for students that decide to seek help. Many universities do not have the money or manpower to devote to mental health services on campus. The scarcity of resources may force students to join therapy groups to avoid the long waitlist or get an individual appointment, which may or may not be with an unlicensed mental health professional in training. 

On-campus therapy sessions may not provide an in-depth psychotherapy the client needs, but rather more of a quick fix. Like Enrico Gnaulati wrote last week for Salon, “Not only is there a high chance of being treated by a relatively inexperienced trainee when students seek campus-based services, the therapy offered is likely to be of the short-term, solution-focused, crisis-management variety, with sessions spaced weeks apart,” Enrico Gnaulati said last week for Salon Media Group.

College campuses are foregoing client-therapist relationships and prioritizing risk-management—treating students as potential liabilities rather than human beings. This strategy is not only objectionable but counterproductive. People do not need to possess a degree in psychotherapy to know that ignoring early symptoms only perpetuates mental health issues until it may be too late.

Some campuses struggle with the availability and quality of mental health resources; while other schools may not encourage students to seek help at all.

Last September, the Pittsburgh-based investigative news nonprofit PublicSource, published an article on the self injury policy in the honor code at Chatham University. The policy basically stated that students could face zero-tolerance disciplinary action, such as expulsion, and be removed from campus housing if caught self-injuring, expressing suicidal ideation, or attempting suicide. About a month after PublicSource’s report, a university-appointed mental health task force removed the self-harm policy from the honor code. Chatham is not the first in its treatment of students who voice their mental health issues, and it may not be the last.

So, yes there’s a new bill in Florida that may help spread mental health awareness on campuses, and it’s a good start. But more needs to be done by university administrators, campus counseling centers and students themselves to create a more healthy and open discourse surrounding mental health on college campuses.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, call these hotlines for help: 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (SAMHSA’s National Helpline/Treatment Referral Routing Service), and 800-950-NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine).

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Grace Cooper is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where she studied Nonfiction Writing and Psychology. When she's not obsessively reading or writing about the news, you can probably find her eating too much pizza and watching When Harry Met Sally for the hundredth time.

Sign up for the Morning Scoop

and wake up with us each day.

CMN Reports

National News23 hours ago

CNN Sues Trump Administration Over Jim Acosta Access

CNN file a lawsuit against President Trump

by , Mercy College
2018 Midterms4 days ago

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Wins a Third Term

Many government officials from New York were reelected and new faces were elected into government in Tuesday's Midterm Election.

by , Mercy College
2018 Midterms6 days ago

Electoral Reform and Voting Rights Expansion Won Big in the Midterms

From Florida to Michigan, voting rights expansions and electoral reform are making gains.

by , The Catholic American University
National News6 days ago

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospitalized After Fracturing Ribs in a Fall

The Supreme Court Justice fell in the office on Wednesday night

by , Cal Poly SLO
Academics7 days ago

Analysis: Adolescent Mental Health Issues are on the Rise and Gun Violence is to Blame

Children are rightfully beginning to fear going to school because of the massive amount of school shootings within recent years.

by , The College of New Jersey
Health2 weeks ago

First FDA Approved Cannabis-Based Drug Available for Prescription

CBD has been known to treat seizures for years, but now the FDA is on board, making it legal for...

by , CMN Senior Correspondent
Government2 weeks ago

Multiple Suspicious Devices Sent to Prominent People in the Democratic Party

Several devices sent to various locations within a few days.

by , Mercy College
Government2 weeks ago

Authorities Make Arrest in Mail Bomb Case

The pipe bomber was identified as Cesar Sayoc, Jr. from Aventura, Florida.

by , Mercy College

Top Reads