This past August, a major mental health resource for UConn students, the Humphrey Clinic for Individual, Couple and Family Therapy, closed its doors. Now, students who seek mental health services on campus will be charged as this clinic was the only resource that did not appear on fee bills. Academic institutions are responsible for students’ mental health as part of their duty to provide education. Mental health services on campus play a crucial role in helping students overcome social hardships and allow students to optimize their college experience. By shutting down the Humphrey clinic, the University of Connecticut (UConn) is doing exactly the opposite. Instead of enhancing mental health resources for students, the university is hindering student success by removing accessible resources.
It is crucial that all students have access to mental health resources on campus because of the high levels of anxiety that is present on college campuses. According to the American Psychological Association, “anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent)”. Usually stemming from stress, anxiety disorders are serious mental illnesses that canto lead to other disorders. Since stress and anxiety are so prominent among college students, the university should be responsible for providing counseling resources for everybody, regardless of their financial standing.
While there are still other mental health resources on campus that are offered by UConn Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Humphrey clinic was the most financially accessible clinic for students. This means that this clinic was the only on-campus counseling resource for students who cannot afford mental health care and many relied on this option. Closing the Humphrey clinic deprives mental health services from students who cannot afford other counseling resources offered by the university. These students, therefore, become excluded from other mental health care options because of their personal financial limitations. The university is failing to provide fair opportunities for mental health care for students by making services less attainable to students who cannot afford it.
Providing fair access to mental health care and counseling services is part of a university’s duty to protect and enhance its students. Shutting down clinics that serve as the only affordable option for many students is unfairly depriving them of the mental health care they need. After shutting down the Humphrey clinic, UConn should provide an affordable counseling alternative to make mental health care accessible to everyone.
Keren Blaunstein is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.