Over the past few weeks, students have become more and more aware of issues relating to a lack of resources for students and faculty seeking mental health services at the University of Connecticut. These issues are not new, and stem from insufficient funds within the university’s Counseling and Mental Health Services (CMHS), which unfortunately means that students are not able to get access to the resources they need. This issue has raised many complaints from students, culminating in a demonstration demanding more resources to be allocated to CMHS earlier this month. With mental health issues continuously on the rise, specifically in college populations, this call for reform is 100 percent warranted and necessary.
UConn has long been criticized for the insufficient resources available to students dealing with mental health issues. This past August, the University of Connecticut’s Humphrey Clinic for Individual, Couple and Family Therapy closed, leaving many students without a way to seek out support. The Humphrey Clinic was an alternative to visiting CMHS, and was a way for students to receive services anonymously, without their visit being reported on their fee bill or to their insurance. For students who previously used the service, this closure was disheartening and devastating. Now, students are left with only CMHS as a means of treatment.
It is not that CMHS is doing their job poorly, a point that students involved in the demonstration made clear, but they are underfunded and understaffed. Due to this, some students report having extensive delays in booking appointments. Mental health is not something that can wait a couple of weeks to get treatment for, it can be an issue that deserves immediate attention from a professional. Additionally, the longer someone waits to seek treatment, the more difficult it may be for them to continue functioning through their day-to-day routine.
College students have extreme amounts of pressure and stress put on them on a daily basis, making them at risk for mental health issues. As a correlation, this should mean universities put more money into their mental health services and have sufficient resources for their students in need. At UConn, it is clear that this is not the case. With students asking for help and demanding change, it is time our university puts a little less time and money into flashy new buildings and a little more into the overall health and wellness of the student body.