Mental health should be a priority

The University offers a multitude of services ranging from newly renovated recreational facilities to nationally ranked programs for students, often implying we have it all. 

Among this wide range of services are the Mental Health Clinic and the Counseling Center. Many students have reported having great success with the clinic or counseling center, but sadly, many others have not.

One major issue is to schedule an appointment at the Counseling Center, students have to call the morning of the day they want an appointment.

If the center is booked, or nothing fits your class schedule, you’ll have to wait until the next day or days after to make an appointment. Some students may feel they can wait a few days for an appointment, but some need more immediate help. 

Students need the University to give them the opportunity to easily use these resources and for mental health to be a main focus in services offered. The problem should be addressed rather than allowing students to slip through the cracks due to scheduling conflicts. 

In 2015 the Division of Mental Health is estimated to spend approximately $540 million while the requested appropriation for fiscal year 2016 is only $495 million.

The cut would only affect facilities within the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health.

The decrease still speaks to a larger problem: Mental health care is not a big enough priority in the state.

For many, dealing with mental health is a long term, or even lifelong, process.

Providing these services to college students is incredible, but members outside of the college community and students post-graduation should be able to thrive personally and professionally without University resources. These budget cuts put these resources at risk. 

Furthermore, mental health care should continue past college. Very few services, similar to those above, are currently available to non-University members in the Champaign-Urbana area.

And while the Urbana City Council has begun discussions about reopening its mental health court, state funded mental health services are facing potential budget cuts, making these prospects less likely.

Comprehensive mental health care should be a top priority inside the University, in its neighboring communities, and throughout the state. In recent years, the taboo surrounding mental health and the stigmas people suffering with these diseases face have decreased.

People have become more comfortable seeking help for mental illness but the services need to continue to be funded in order to make a difference. 

Investing in solid mental health services creates a better University and society. Emphasizing the importance of mental health and continuing to fund services will allow students who need help to continue pursuing their goals and enjoy life without facing these extra hardships.