As college campuses around the U.S. continue to grow in size, mental health resources on these campuses remain the same. In the past, these resources helped with issues such as homesickness and fatigue, but as the stigma around mental health disappears, these resources should expand to help with bigger problems.
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety lands the top spot as the main concern for students at 41.6%, followed by depression at 36.4%. What is even scarier is Louisiana's mental health statistics, which lists suicide as the third-leading cause of death for ages 15-34.
Some favorite methods of providing aid for students with mental health detriments on the University's campus include receiving free skin-care masks or making gooey slime. And if that isn’t a testament to the lack of concern for student’s well-being on campus, then I don’t know what is.
For a college that sees nearly $2 billion in assets every year, it’s shocking to see such minimal efforts put into helping students with mental health issues. While doing goat yoga and potting succulents is fun to many, it’s an ironic diversion and showcases the University’s ignorance in the face of a bigger problem.
LSU’s Student Health Center recently hosted Mental Health Week earlier this month, offering quick discussions amongst cute Instagram posts about mental health. Some of their suggestions to combat less “serious” cases offered remedies such as ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) and coloring books.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anxiety, depression and eating disorders are a bit more intense than an aesthetically-pleasing social media post recommending exercise as a solution. To take such a light-hearted approach to this difficult and important topic is not only demeaning to the people who deal with it, but also detrimental to the stigma around it.
However, it should be acknowledged that the Student Health Center isn’t the only one to blame. The true blame falls back on the University for not implementing stronger resources for student mental health.
The University offers full-time students primary care ranging from immunization appointments to gynecology clinic visits. However, the only offerings they have for non-emergency mental health treatment all fall under the same umbrella of short-term therapy or brief consultations that usually refer you to resources off-campus.
With an student enrollment count nearing 32,000, you would think that there would be a moral responsibility for the University to provide proper mental health care for students, one of the biggest demographics to suffer from depression and anxiety.
As a student enrolled in a University that prides itself as “one of the best in the country,” I expect access to adequate mental health resources outside the limited options of petting therapy dogs in Middleton, or going to a suicide prevention intervention.
Gabrielle Martinez is a 19-year-old mass communication freshman from Gonzales, Louisiana.