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The Help We Deserve

Amanda Hailey

The number of college students experiencing mental health struggles is at an all-time high. These are the highest rates of depression and anxiety seen. Why are young individuals experiencing such high rates of depression with barely little being done? As a student myself experiencing these things, I have received zero help on my campus, and unfortunately many others too.

I had a hard time with my mental health throughout all years of college. Even before college, I had my struggles with mental health. This was due to me having to worry about everything in my personal life while trying to maintain a good GPA – it became very difficult to be attentive to my mental health. During all four years of college, my mental health has been a huge struggle and no one would know I feel this way. Not only does no one know, but I feel as if they don’t care and especially at my school.

It is so sad how often this happens to other students all over the world. The only way my peers discuss their traumas is through making jokes about it to make it seem lighter, but where is the real professional help? “Go to your counselor on campus!” Such a great resource right? Yeah, let me make an appointment with someone for a month later, a whole list of problems will be added right to it. But why would I feel comfortable talking to a stranger? With the few available appointments in a semester, it is very hard to build a client relationship and gain their trust.

There needs to be more transparent discussions by higher education officials about the current mental health crisis amongst young people. Students should be welcomed to discuss their mental health concerns and receive adequate on-campus resources. The mental health crisis amongst young people could be addressed by providing more counselors but also providing a safe space on campus for students to go to when they are feeling down. New York State Assemblymembers and Senators can improve campus mental health counseling services by supporting NY Bill (A302/S844) to ensure a better ratio of counselors to students, at least 1,000 to 1, at CUNY and SUNY schools. This could be a great step towards addressing the lack of professional help students are receiving.

Expanding access to mental health resources makes students feel like they are cared for. If the school doesn’t care, then why should students? Providing more mental health support on campus can help students’ reduce their stress, encourage them to achieve more, and overall, improve the quality of their lives. Let’s continue to have these uncomfortable conversations and get students the help they need.

Amanda Hailey is a member of Young Invincibles-New York’s 2022 Spring Young Advocates Program.