Mental health is tremendously important and Dixie State University lacks the vital resources its students need.
According to Active Minds, 39% of college students experience significant mental health issues, and the number is rising every day. A good majority of these students are neglectful toward their mental health due to stigma and minimal resources.
Students must have immediate access to the resources they need when they reach out for help, but DSU has limited funding for the Booth Wellness Center, and the therapists are in low supply.
The university currently offers mental health counseling to students and athletes free of charge thanks to student fees. Still, more money should be allocated to the department to expand its resources to reach more of the student body.
DSU charges a total of $420 per student in student fees and only $20.50 is slated toward the Booth Wellness Center. Students are paying these fees, so they should receive the help they need in a timely manner.
Students on campus are already paying a heavy amount of fees for a variety of resources on campus; it is definitely possible for DSU to set aside more money to hire more on-site therapists, bring in more mental health resources like therapy dogs, and host mental health awareness seminars.
According to the Jed Foundation: “There are currently approximately 17.5 million university students in the United States. It is reported that 8.5% of students sought counseling through their school service; college-based counselors saw another 29% in other settings.”
Professors need to be aware that they might potentially have students struggling mentally too. It can be challenging for a student to wake up every day and go to class if they are not receiving help.
Psychology professor Palwasha Ahad said it’s important to promote mental health days, bring awareness to the growing issue, and direct students to the resources they need, but that only solves half the problem. The resources do not have the funding to help every student.
If a student goes to the Booth Wellness Center for help, they should be assisted immediately. DSU does not have the funds to have on-demand services and students are getting overlooked.
In the fall 2019 semester, I scheduled an appointment with the Booth Wellness Center counselor and it took two weeks to get me in. I was not in need of immediate help, but if a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts or extreme depression, the employees should be allowed to bump them up on the schedule as soon as possible, not just refer them to the hotline.
DSU also has a growing Division I athletic department and has only employed one sports psychologist to oversee all 15 sports.
Ronald Chamberlain has been employed as DSU’s sports psychologist since 2016, and he said he’s noticed the demand for mental health resources increasing over the years.
Chamberlain said there is a need for more resources, and he is looking into potentially hiring a graduate assistant to help oversee athletes.
According to Athletes for Hope, “Among professional athletes, data shows that up to 35% of elite athletes suffer from a mental health crisis which may manifest as stress, eating disorders, burnout, or depression and anxiety. “
Student-athletes have to juggle a full-time academic schedule as well as multi-hour practices each day. It can be hard to balance it all, and student-athletes might fall into a depressive and anxiety-filled state that can inhibit both their sports and academic performance.
To lessen the demand for immediate services, Chamberlain educates coaches across the campus on how to identify and help an athlete in need. It is crucial athletes are directed to receive mental health help.
It is good that the university can supply therapists free of charge, but the services are not amazing. The sessions are too short to adequately address a student‘s needs right away. Students should want to reach out for help, but DSU’s services might not be worth the wait.
Students deserve to have adequate mental health sources and DSU needs to step up its game. Instead of therapists being 100% free from fees, the Booth Wellness Center should bump up the price a little bit. This will give them more money to hire more therapists to meet the demand and host mental health related events.
As a student-athlete on campus, I struggle balancing it all and have used both the Booth Wellness Center and Chamberlain. The university is off to a good start by offering those resources, but there is still room for improvement.
Mental health is extremely important and the university should prioritize it. DSU preaches “active learning, active life,” but how do they think students will live up to that motto if some of them are struggling with their mental health?
If you or someone you know is in need of immediate help and cannot visit the Booth Wellness Center, you can call the National Suicide Prevision Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.