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

Though it’s early, UM already has assembled an outstanding nine-member 2020 recruiting class, a grou ...

Three days before they open their season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Miami Hurricanes h ...

The first half of Wednesday night’s game was as lousy as the weather outside the Watsco Center, as t ...

UM coach Manny Diaz took his staff to the Florida Keys on Tuesday evening to visit with famous Keys ...

Dominic Mammarelli didn’t only commit to the Miami Hurricanes because of Mark Richt and his old staf ...

The University of Miami will host the first symposium to explore LGBTQ human rights across the Ameri ...

UM experts react to a new ban that prohibits people in Key West from using certain types of sunscree ...

A matchmaker extraordinaire, Ricardo Cepeda, the manager of the UM Zebrafish Facility, is passionate ...

The Shelley family shares their story of four generations at the University of Miami. ...

Mark Rowlands, a University of Miami professor who adopted and raised a wolf-dog cub, observed the s ...

The Canes open the 75th season in program history and first under the direction of head coach Gino D ...

The No. 15 Miami women's tennis team is set to open league competition Saturday afternoon with ...

ACC unveils opponents for 20-game conference schedules for next three seasons. ...

Miami tops Clemson 65-64, as Johnson hits game-winner with 0.4 seconds remaining. ...

The Miami women's tennis team ascended two spots in this week's Oracle/ITA team rankings 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.