USU Student Government Declares University-Wide Mental Health Crisis
Linzy Brown was once a student at Utah State University, but after struggling with depression and falling behind in her classes, she was kicked out of school in April 2015.
“Depression will always probably be a little bit of a problem for me,” she said. “It’s kind of been a thing I’ve had my entire life, it just got really bad up here because I was really isolated. I have seasonal depression and every winter and I go through it.”
And Brown isn’t the only student suffering from mental illness at Utah State University. According to the mental health crisis bill signed by members of the Utah State Student Association, 56 percent of students who went to the Student Health and Wellness Center last year went for mental-health-related reasons.
The increasing amount of mental health issues in colleges around Utah is one reason why USUSA student advocate vice president Matthew Clewett decided to write the bill. On Tuesday, members of Utah State University’s student government unanimously approved the bill to declare a mental health crisis at the university.
“You know, we’re having students every single month attempt suicide,” Clewett said. “And unfortunately, we’re having a lot of those attempts completed here at Utah State. It’s a tragedy. It’s a crisis that we’re seeing here around our state, and it’s important that our administrators, our students and our faculty band together to address this crisis head-on.”
Clewett said students aren’t getting the help they need, and many wait as long as 4-6 weeks to get an appointment with a counselor.
“I think you can agree that 4-6 weeks is 4-6 weeks far too long for a student that’s suffering from depression,” he said.
Clewett hopes this piece of legislation will make students and administrators more aware of mental health and help medical and counseling organizations on campus grow to accommodate all students with mental health problems. He hopes other universities around the state will choose to create their own mental health bills.
“The more students that we have on board with this, and the more student government organizations we have on board, we’re going to be able to do a lot more with our legislative session during the 2017 term,” Clewett said.