October 16, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘Why I’m Choosing Not to Seek Professional Mental Health Care’

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To the Editor:

Yesterday, The Sun published a column by Kristi Lim ’21 entitled, “Why I’m Choosing Not to Seek Professional Mental Health Care,” in which the author discusses not only her own personal experiences with mental health, but also claims that “it is easy to use [professional help] to substitute the difficult work of directly resolving an issue.” While personal approaches to mental health can vary based on individual needs, this piece promotes a dangerous attitude towards mental health care and further stigmatizes those who experience mental health challenges.

While The Sun already failed to provide a list of resources with the article, the publication of this article also served to compound the stigma already associated with seeking help. Though there are a variety of methods that one may use to support one’s own mental health and many cultural approaches to mental health, we push back on the idea that looking for help, whether through professional counseling or through close friends or family, is equivalent to admitting that there is something wrong with you or that you are unable to manage your life. The truth is that mental health is a team effort, and it should be framed as such.

A plethora of medical and psychological research backs the effectiveness of professional mental health support. The American Psychological Association and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have compiled “complete lists of evidence-based [mental health] therapies” that are supported by “a range of rigorous review processes that have complete lists of evidence-based therapies.” And while there should be a limit to how much you depend on your friends for your own mental health, it is not a deplorable action to share your feelings with those closest to you.

In fact, seeking mental health support is not “outsourcing” work on yourself, as Lim’s piece suggests, but rather a deeply empowering choice to acknowledge one’s own weaknesses and make active steps towards uplifting oneself. Even therapy or psychiatric support isn’t meant to be an end-all-be-all: These tools are meant to bolster one’s emotional guidance as one works through issues and help with the biological chemical imbalances that occur.

By publishing Lim’s column in its current form — and failing to provide a list of mental health resources along with it — The Sun has made a serious error of editorial judgment. Cornell’s paper of record has always been, and should remain, an open forum for the debate of diverse and controversial ideas, but the publication of what amounts to faulty medical advice crosses a line. Mental health is quite literally a matter of life and death for Cornellians, and The Sun should act in a way that honors the trust Cornellians place in the publication. By publishing questionable advice that could endanger student health, The Sun has violated that trust.

Joanna Hua ’20

Chelsea Kiely ’20

John Sullivan Baker ’20

Avani Bhargava ’20

Evan Mahoney-Bostrom ’20

Liz Davis-Frost ’20

Jenna Phelps ’20

Julia Pagán Andréu ’19

Alexis Knoebel ’21

Alexandra Gibbons ’22

Eden Knoop ’22

Sadman Chowdhury ’23

Nicholas Hansen ’20

Ellen Shulina ’20

George DeFendini ’22

Astrid Evenson ’20

Paola Ríos ’19

Hannah Lorenc ’19 

Hansen Tai ’20 

       Isabella DiGiovanni ’21

Mónica De León ’17

Andrew Rosenblatt ’20

Joseph Anderson ’20

Rose Ippolito ’20

Claudia Torres ’19

Juliette Raymond ’21

Jin Mo Koo ’22

Kumar Nandanampti ’20

Youhan Yuan ’21

Janna DiVico ’22 

Emma Runge ’20

Zoya Mohsin ’21

Hassaan Bin Sabir ’21

Akanksha Jain ’20

Amanda Amornwichet ’21

Ariana Croese ’21

Elle Espinoza ’20

Jason Katz ’21

Cole Johnston ’20

Vanessa Navaro ’19

Cameron Leska-Kent ’19

Skyeler McQueen ’21

Emma Bernstein ’21

Weston Barker ’21