Student suicides have shocked university campuses across New Jersey at an alarming rate this fall semester, but as student loan debt and inadequate part-time jobs continue to rise, access to psychological services continues to fall short.
According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, 80% of college students feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities as a student. Half of them also rate their own mental health as below average, but shockingly, 40% of students suffering from mental illness fail to seek help.
With mental health concerns clearly evident among college students, universities would likely respond by providing professional help on the matter. Unfortunately, for many college students in New Jersey, access to that aid can be difficult to come by.
During this semester alone, three students committed suicide at Rowan University. Despite the administration’s claims that the availability to physiological services has improved, the semester-long waitlist to receive help says otherwise.
In addition, during the summer of 2019, a Montclair State University student committed suicide. The university did not send out any notification, neither to its students nor the parents of its students.
An important resource on campus, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), is something that many students would turn to, however, they are experiencing other problems.
For students at Montclair State, promptly scheduling an appointment with a professional to receive mental health counseling is a challenge, as making an appointment at CAPS is not a swift process.
The first step includes making a 10 to 15-minute phone call, explaining the purpose of the desired appointment. Then, students schedule an appointment, which usually does not occur until at least one week after the initial call. Finally, after an estimated thirty minutes of paperwork, students can finally receive an hour of counseling.
For those who cannot…
How important do you think access to mental health services is for college students?
By Annabel Reyes
“I believe that access to mental health services on a college campus is very important. A lot of students nowadays are going through mental health issues, and it is very important that they have options to talk to somebody. If someone had access to these services, they would have another sense of support or a lifeline.”
“I think access to mental health services is very important especially at Montclair State University. A lot of kids, especially college students go through certain things regarding not only school but relationships or things like that. It’s important that their safety and mental health are assured.”
“I think access to mental health services on college campuses is very important. I think people underestimate how stressed college students get especially during finals. Giving the students the option to see a professional is really good.”
“Access to mental health services on college campuses is very important. Montclair State offers a lot of on-campus opportunities for students to focus on mental health. I think it’s a very important thing for students to focus on.”