Continuing the fight against mental health stigma

Kristine Totanes, Contributing Reporter

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

The state of Tulane’s mental health services is still far from ideal, but by continuing our efforts to make these services more effective and accessible, we can help improve the lives of many students at the university.

While much of this responsibility lies on the campus administration, students need to continue fighting to make their needs heard. Students cannot stop vocally expressing the importance of better mental health services, “better” meaning more easily accessible, longer-term and in general more personal and attentive to the needs of each student.

We cannot discount the strides that students have already made in this capacity. One project, led by Shefali Arora, now a Tulane graduate, involved collecting students’ stories from all over campus, which then were placed on a publicly accessible Google document.

Students have also written letters to President Michael Fitts and other members of the administration, expressing the need for change. The student body government of Tulane also helped increase awareness by communicating with the administration on behalf of the student body.

These measures seem to be working. This year alone, Tulane University took an immense step by joining forces with the Jed and Clinton Health Matters Campus Program. The program combines the services of the Jed Foundation and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, two organizations dedicated to promoting the people’s health and well-being on campuses and all over the country.

Whether this step will drastically improve the state of mental health services on campus remains to be seen, but right now, the prospects seem positive.

In the meantime, we must focus on doing our part. This includes not only being vocal, but also learning to become more open-minded about mental health issues in general.

Though it is much less severe today than ever before, there is still a general stigma surrounding mental health issues. Working towards encouraging a culture more open-minded and accepting of such issues is incredibly important.

Actively expressing that mental health issues are much like physical health problems, legitimate issues that need to be properly addressed, will help encourage more students to seek help and take advantage of the services provided by the school.

Once this is achieved, we will not only help make the Tulane experience a much more fulfilling and enjoyable one for students, but also dramatically improve the lives of many people on our campus.