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Does Brandeis do enough for mental health?

By Gabriel del Carmen

Section: Opinions

February 26, 2016

The state of mental health care on Brandeis’ campus is better than at most other schools. Unfortunately, though, most schools do not do reach the minimum threshold to be declared adequate. Many Brandeis students are unable to answer very simple questions about the mental health resources we have on campus: What does the “PCC” stand for? What is in Mailman House? (“Is that where the mailroom is?”) Where do Brandeis students go if they are experiencing a mental health crisis?

The Psychological Counseling Center, or PCC, is located in Mailman House near Gosman. It is a fantastic resource for those who are experiencing excess stress, a crisis of mental health, symptoms from a mental illness and more. These resources are available for each and every student. Brandeis has even gone as far as to offer 12 free counseling sessions for each student as an incentive to go there. These wonderful resources exist within the walls of our campus. But how many students know about them?

Because of the unique barriers that come with accessing treatment for mental health (stigma being one of the most salient), Brandeis needs to go above and beyond that which is considered adequate mental healthcare for its students. It would be awful if the average student did not know where the Health Center was, or that it even existed, but the problem becomes exponentially more serious when talking about problems of mental health. Stigma can only be uprooted if we stop perpetuating ignorance about mental illness. Brandeis, a university that proclaims itself as one at the forefront of social justice, should strive to begin those changes on its own campus. That is to say, a school cannot rightfully say that it causes social and political change if it does not begin within its very own confines.

It is therefore worrying that Brandeis has included very little in its orientation to discuss the PCC, its hours and other important aspects to mental health coverage. When it was covered, it has done so with brevity and was not given the due diligence it deserves. While topics such as sexual health and safe alcohol usage are certainly pertinent to the life of college students (perhaps not as much as many college students would want), high stress environments such as university settings are petri dishes for mental health problems. We need similar orientation focus on mental health, which is just as serious.

Do not mistake this, however, as an indictment of Brandeis’ ability to handle its students’ welfare. It is rather a call for positive change, for improvement. Because this improvement affects more than just the students at Brandeis—it affects all of us.

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