Students organize text-based mental health support group

The+McKinley+Health+Center+is+pictured+above.

Ryan Ash

The McKinley Health Center is pictured above.

By Payal Rathore, Staff Writer

By Payal Rathore

Staff Writer

After the suicide awareness vigil that took place last week, students continue to advocate for mental health resources on campus and have created a forum in order to gather more support.

“There is already a negative stigma around mental health and illnesses but given the pandemic, the fact that we have to social-distance just creates a distance from family and friends,” said Sarena Abdallah, junior in AHS. “I definitely think that being online is also a struggle because we aren’t really getting that interaction between our professors or our classmates.”

The increased coursework online has added to the anxiety of students as they struggle to take care of their mental health while coping up with deadlines in this new setting. Many students face financial issues during these times with the lack of employment opportunities and many layoffs.

The group’s current goals include creating a text-based support group and continuing to advocate for the need for more funding.

“I had made a poster and had put it by the Alma Mater and it just says ‘text HOME to 741 741,’ free counseling, which anyone can use,” Abdallah said 

They are currently working on related details such as the platform to be used and the students which need to be recruited.

“Being able to implement something like the group text gives students a chance to be understood and speak with individuals in similar environments and situations so that they don’t feel like they are alone,” Abdallah said and added on about being open to extending this initiative in person if possible.

Current resources such as peer counseling, group counseling and other such programs are available at the Counseling Center and McKinley Health Center, but they’re not always visible students. Early calls to book appointments are hit or miss, and some students find it difficult to schedule an appointment on the same day.

“I spoke with one of the associate vice chancellors and his argument against that was that some students do not show up to their appointments and spots don’t get filled,” Abdallah said. “But you can’t necessarily compare this semester with any other and these are just risks that need to be taken.”

Currently, there are about 40 counselors for approximately 52,000 students which results in a ratio of 1 counselor for every 1300 students.

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