Joanna Hua '20, co-president of the student mental health task speaks at the mental health community forum.

Student Mental Health Task Force to Submit Policy Recommendations to University

The student-led Mental Health Task Force finalized its list of recommendations to improve Cornell’s mental health services on Sunday, with plans to formally introduce them to the administration and gather signatures from the student body on Monday. The task force recommendations include hiring new counselors and mental health liaisons, new training for resident advisors and university staff, changes to leave of absence policies, and increasing access to off-campus mental health services. 
Since March, the task force has worked to identify possible areas of improvements to Cornell’s mental health services, during which the administration has faced criticism from students and mental health advocacy groups like The Sophie Fund — an advocacy organization founded by the parents of Sophie MacLeod ’14, who committed suicide while on medical leave from Cornell in 2016. In January, President Pollack rejected calls for an independent review of campus mental health services from Susan Hack and Scott MacLeod, founders of The Sophie Fund. At the time, Pollack said that a two-year external review by the JED Foundation and internal reviews of Cornell Health are sufficient audits for its mental health program. Hack and McLeod called the review “plainly insufficient” in a letter to Pollack in August, and repeated its call for an independent task force.

Courtesy of Rachel Goffin

GUEST ROOM | ‘Did You Get a Return Offer?’

“Did you get a return offer?” A question that I’ve been asked dozens of times upon running into friends and acquaintances since returning to Cornell last month. “Do you know what you’re doing next year yet?” A question that I know I am not the only senior to receive over and over again in the past month. “How are you feeling this week?” A question I’ve been asked rarely, if at all, in my time at Cornell. We spend a lot of time talking about how CAPS has a long wait time and not enough therapists, and how the mental health resources on this campus need to be improved. But I think Cornell’s mental health crisis starts a hell of a lot earlier than that.