October 1, 2014

EDITORIAL: Propelling the Discussion Around Mental Health Forward

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Last week, the Student Assembly unanimously passed Resolution 8: Resources in Syllabi for Mental Health, which calls upon professors to include standardized information about mental health and where to find appropriate resources within course syllabi. While we at The Sun believe that spreading information about mental health resources is a step in the right direction, we challenge the S.A. to continue the discussion with mental health professionals to find the best and most effective ways to help students.

The resolution, if passed by the Faculty Senate, would result in a pre-written note in all syllabi informing students about where they can seek help for stress. The note, with the addition of a list of resources such as EARS, CAPS, Let’s Talk and the Learning Strategies Center, would say the following:

“It is normal to experience stress at a school like Cornell; it is important to realize when this stress is no longer healthy and instead becomes debilitating. Professors, administrators and students recognize the importance of accommodating this stress and there are a number of resources on campus meant to assist you in times of need. If you are feeling this way at any point throughout the semester, reach out to your professor, or teaching assistant for academic advice and support. Additionally, the following resources are available to offer stress relief, and promote your mental and emotional wellbeing.”

We support students and seek to help them when they are overwhelmed by stress. We further encourage students and faculty to be empathetic about the stresses that exist and provide any help they can.

In regards to the resolution, Ross Glitin ’15, undergraduate student trustee, said, “It is best to wait [to vote on the resolution] … until we have reached out to the director of mental health because he is in the know and as a professional he knows what’s best.” We agree that the S.A. should consult mental health professionals when dealing with resolutions of this nature. However, we still stand by Resolution 8. We believe that the inclusion of this statement in every syllabus is a positive addition and will serve as a constant reminder to students that help is available.

Given our support for this resolution, we also call on the Faculty Senate to also show its support for the increased access to information regarding mental health resources on every syllabus and pass S.A. Resolution 8 when it reaches a vote.