Opinion

Campus must care for mental health

University of Pennsylvania freshman Madison Holleran’s suicide on Jan. 16 garnered the attention of national – and international – media outlets in the past week. She was a talented track runner, a beautiful young Jersey girl, and a college student of Ivy League caliber. This left many asking what led Holleran to jump from a parking garage that Friday evening, with speculation laying blame on her stressful school environment.

Depression and other mental health issues can hit anyone for any reason. Rather than pick apart the factors that may have led to her death, we should focus on mental health on college campuses.

While we can’t eliminate all factors, we can create an environment encouraging open discussion and allowing students to seek help.

At the University of Miami, we have resources available – the Counseling Center, suicide prevention organization Lifeguards and the Canes Care for Canes online reporting system. The resources exist, but not enough is said about them. Students are introduced to them during orientation, but the information is largely forgotten.

Talking about depression and visiting the Counseling Center need to be normalized. That starts with open conversation, and ends with implementing programs in which students can actively participate.

Online discussion on the “UMiami Secrets” Facebook page has helped stimulate dialogue and compassion. Students respond to posts about depression and suicidal thoughts, offering the anonymous posters a chance to talk by Facebook message. This is the type of community that must be created, but we must be as inviting on campus as we are online.

Similarly, therapists at the Counseling Center can, and should, act as a sounding board for students wanting to talk about troubling issues – be it a relationship, the big move from home or post-grad anxieties – before the situation escalates. Much can be said about talking things out, no matter how trivial the matter may seem.

Discussing mental health on campus and talking to someone are important steps, but changes can’t occur without unified efforts. Resident assistants should be trained to address mental health issues. Additional staff is needed at the Counseling Center to avoid long waits for appointments. And tangible programs, like the upcoming mindfulness initiatives promoting mental clarity, must be put in place.

UM should pursue avenues to improve the culture of mental health on campus. After all, if we can have a task force for football busing concerns, there’s no reason why we can’t form one that addresses mental health, too.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

January 26, 2014

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

The name conjures images of tranquil waters, lush palm trees and cool breezes. The faces conjure ima ...

A heap of preseason accolades are being showered daily on the University of Miami football players. ...

James Jones, who starred at Hialeah American High School, the University of Miami and was a part of ...

A classic good news/bad news scenerio arose for Miami Hurricanes football at the recent Atlantic Coa ...

The University of Miami football players are not the only ones getting preseason accolades. The guys ...

Looking back on 15 years of the University of Miami Business Plan Competition, hosted by the School ...

Read the latest entries from UM students who are spending part or all of their summer visiting diffe ...

Value in the Era of Analytics ...

Summer Creative Writing Camp Inspires Young Writers to Release Their Emotions Onto the Page. ...

Gomez, an expert on human values and attitudes in post-Castro Cuba, will serve as interim director o ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.