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

Government3 days ago

Speaker Pelosi Endorsed Lowering the Voting Age to 16 years Old

The kids maybe alright to vote.

by , The Catholic American University
National News5 days ago

Here’s What We Know So Far About Operation Varsity Blues

A summary and the latest updates about the largest college admissions scandal to hit the country.

by , George Washington University
Government5 days ago

The Department of Health and Human Services Received Complaints of Alleged Sexual Abuse Against Foreign National Minors

Migrant children may be at risk on the ground and overseas.

by , The Catholic American University
Government5 days ago

California Governor Gavin Newsom Suspends Death Penalty Statewide

The Golden State is on the verge of ending the death penalty.

by , The Catholic American University
Government5 days ago

Top Congressional Republicans Decry Progressive Policies as Socialist

A Third Red Scare in Washington?

by , The Catholic American University
Government6 days ago

North Dakota State University Football Player Wears Socialist Pin at the Trump White House

The Reds infiltrate the White House.

by , The Catholic American University
National News1 week ago

Ethiopian Airlines Jet Crashes, No Survivors on Boeing 737

This is the second flight, in five months involving a Boeing 737.

by , CMN Senior Correspondent
Government2 weeks ago

Progressives, Socialists, Make Gains in Local Elections in NYC and Chicago

The left is on the rise in big cities.

by , The Catholic American University

Top Reads