The day to day experience of racism exacerbates mental health concerns for many Black people in the United States, including on Cornell University’s Ithaca campus.
Both Dr. Jacque Tara Washington, LCSW-R, Doctor of Social Work and Cornell Health clinician, and multiple Cornell students expressed a desire for systematic change to create a welcoming environment for Black student wellness.
A pair of headphones, earbuds or — dare I say it — AirPods fall into the same level of necessity as backpacks when it comes to college student essentials. There’s nothing quite like the drop in my stomach when I realize that I left my headphones in my dorm, doomed to a day without music to get me through my walks across campus and those awkward interactions I’d rather avoid by jamming out to Frank Ocean. Headphones even got an honorable mention in Martha Pollack’s New Student Convocation last semester for their widespread use around campus. The science regarding music and mental health isn’t fully conclusive, but there is some evidence linking music with positive health outcomes. Anecdotally, I know what I’m listening to deeply impacts (and is impacted by) my mental health.
As Cornell students we have a distinct sense of being groomed for our Perfect Lives. Raised to get perfect scores on standardized tests. Told even our extracurriculars, activities typically meant to allow us to unwind and explore interests that are not scaled or critiqued like assignments, will come under scrutiny for their ability to improve or say something about us to others. Society has been grooming us since birth to be part of the perfect future workforce and gave us the technology to be constantly working, be it building a personal brand or receiving an email at midnight about class the next day. This push for hyper-optimization makes even leisure time an opportunity for greater productivity.
The Sophie Fund, a local mental health advocacy group, presented 22 recommendations to Cornell on Jan. 17, continuing its efforts to implore the University to take more aggressive steps in addressing mental health issues on campus.
In a semesterly meeting with The Sun, President Martha E. Pollack shared her hopes for on-campus reform, reaffirmed her dedication to “transparency” in the investigation of Antonio Tsialas’s death and promised plans for increasing student socioeconomic diversity as she prepares to wrap up her fifth semester in Cornell’s highest office.
Two months after the implementation of these reforms, CAPS reported a decrease from 37 days to 15 days in students’ average wait time of scheduling appointments. It has also seen increases in both the number of unique clients and the number of student visitors it has had in 2019 by 23% and 34%, respectively, compared to the numbers from 2018.