Opinion

SVSU needs to take the mental health of its students seriously

In today’s world, along with the fact that we are college students who experience a lot of stress, mental health is a very prevalent thing.

Our school and administration do a lot of things right, but they seem to not really care about their students’ mental health concerns. They also do not have many resources, other than the counseling center.

My freshman year here, I struggled severely with my mental health and suicidal ideation. During Welcome Weekend, I experienced a lot of things that made me feel suicidal.

I had told my boyfriend at the time that I felt this way, and he told his RA, not wanting to deal with it himself.

His RA contacted her RD, who contacted my RA and her RD. I had four people come to my dorm trying to talk to me and figure out what’s going on.

I even had to fill out an “incident” report while I was already distraught.

Instead of making me feel comfortable and having casual check-ins to see if I was OK, I had received an email telling me that if I do not set up a meeting with the RD and directors of Res Life, I would be kicked off campus.

As a freshman, this was terrifying to me, and made me feel even worse. First of all, I had no idea where anything was or who these people were.

While I was trying to find my way around campus and survive the first week of classes, I had to fit in a meeting.

At this meeting, they made me recount what happened, made me apologize for it and made me promise it would not happen again, or else there would be consequences.

I then had to make mandatory appointments with the counseling center, which is almost impossible to find time to do anyways.

I went to my first session, and it was nice to have that resource. I went to maybe one or two more, until I accidentally overslept and had to tell them I would be a little late.

Instead of letting me come or rescheduling, they told me to not bother even coming, and they canceled all the other future appointments I had made.

I was told that they did this because I was “taking up time from other students who needed it and could commit to showing up.”

First of all, as mental health specialists, they should know that people with depression tend to oversleep.

They should also realize that we are all human and make mistakes. This made me feel like I was just a number to them, not a person.

Everything that the administration put me through ended up making me feel worse and worse, just for struggling with my mental health.

They didn’t care if I was OK or not, they were just covering all the bases to prevent themselves from being liable if anything did happen.

Now, I don’t even feel comfortable discussing my mental health in detail to anyone on campus, in fears that I will get kicked out or forced to go through all that again.

I strongly believe I have also been disregarded for certain opportunities due to this situation, because it is probably on my file.

Writing this article might even make things worse regarding getting jobs in Res Life, but I would rather let this be heard and benefit other students than just pretend it didn’t happen.

SVSU, you need to do better.

Students shouldn’t have to suppress their feelings because they might miss out on opportunities or get in trouble. I hope this never happens to anyone else.

Categories: Opinion

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3 replies »

  1. I completely agree! SVSU talks a big game about their mental health resources but when I used the counseling center, I was often brushed off and it didn’t help at all. It took YEARS after I graduated to work up the courage to finally seek help for my depression. SVSU needs to do better. Freshmen are at a higher risk for depression in my opinion because they are new to the campus and are often on their own for the first time. It appears your experience just added to stigma that is being fought against! RA’s don’t have to have therapy sessions with their residents, but just showing that they care and are there to listen is often what someone needs. They have a lot to fix and they don’t have any time to waste.

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your hurt. I would’ve never thought this happened. I have struggled with mental health struggles myself but I have never notified SVSU about it since I don’t live on campus. I wouldn’t even know how to feel if I received this type of treatment. You are so strong and brave for sharing your story. Hopefully this story can make a difference!

  3. This happened to me my freshman year too. I was really struggling with SI and my RA was clueless. They called Campus Police and they came in all badged up and knocked on the door to my dorm. All my roommates were home and it was super embarrassing! I didn’t even know them that well! They escorted me to the counseling center and they were awful. Literally the worst experience at SVSU. The RD told me to “give it a college try” to overcome it. I ended up moving back home and commuting because the environment in the dorms and with the counseling center were so bad!

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