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
  • HurricaneSports

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Part four of a five-part series on UM’s defense with the start of fall camp a month away: Cornerback ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

Political polarization, distrust in fact-based knowledge and verbal targeting may be fueling the ons ...

University of Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara announced the additions of K ...

Three-time CSCAA Honorable Mention All-American diver Wally Layland and two-time ITA All-American te ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Thursday the signing of two more ...

University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt was among the 20 coaches selected to the preseaso ...

Miami opens the Wooden Legacy against La Salle on Thanksgiving Day in Fullerton, Calif. ...

TMH Twitter
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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.