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

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

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 ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

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.