The Daily Illini

University needs to rethink mental health infrastructure

By Jared Perovic

I am a transfer student here at the University, and I love this school. When I think about how universities grapple with the mental health epidemic affecting students, I consider my experiences at two universities in my college career. Uniting both my experiences is the inescapable presence of mental health issues. Whether it be my own struggles in the face of overwhelming stress or the crises of my friends, mental health has been a constant challenge that requires close attention and care. Creating university infrastructure around working in this setting is no easy task.

University mental health services are tasked with hitting a moving target. The demographics of a traditional student body is changing rapidly. Services have made incredible strides in the past decades, but they are constantly overworked and underpaid. This is evident in the long wait times for an appointment, which force some students to wait up to a month before an appointment. This means when students need vital services most, the University is not equipped to help.

There is something revealing in how our gym facilities and stadium are shown off in campus tours to impress potential new students and parents. Why isn’t our student services building held in the same esteem? Imagine a parent saying to themselves, “Ah yes, this is where I want to send my child to be depressed.”

No one likes to consider the potential of mental health disasters. We all know these are inevitable, yet it is uncomfortable to think about.

I think our campus culture would benefit from paying attention to how often these services are needed and how often students really seek them out. Chipping away at the stigma surrounding mental health might lead students to seek out the services they need.

Jared Perovic is a junior in LAS.

Leave a Comment