More than 95% of college students struggled with negative mental health symptoms last year. With the pandemic and a record number of college students having a diagnosable mental illness — mental illness is a greater threat now than ever before — but institutions across the country are failing their students’ needs.

Mental illness is a new kind of pandemic and colleges must provide and educate students on the resources they need, especially as mental health has become more openly discussed. Seeking help has become a major struggle in and of itself.

While most colleges provide mental health resources, many barely do anything to advertise them to students. For example, Emory University recently switched from TimelyMD, the online counseling service that included a 24-hour crisis hotline and counseling appointments, to the rebranded TimelyCare, which is also accessible on laptops and phones. 

However, all that was done to make this change known was release one email in late June. Not only was this announced in the middle of the summer, a time when students aren’t keeping up with correspondence, but the email also failed to provide a shareable link. This is just one piece of the communication puzzle that is lacking. While Emory and its peer institutions provide mental health resources, “many students either don’t know they exist or don’t know how to use them,” according to Seats At The Table (SATT), a Georgia-based non-profit dedicated to advocating for mental health policies on college campuses.

A co-founder of the organization, Rebecca Schwartz (24C) told the Wheel she believes ignorance of mental health resources is widespread among students at Emory, and is something that needs to be addressed by the University.

Pushing for better mental health care should not be students’ responsibility, but negligent institutions, including Emory, leave us no choice. SATT is fighting to pass a bill in the Georgia state Senate and House of Representatives that would obligate universities to provide free mental health care and train students on how to access it. This organization deserves readers’ support, given its positive impact in the Georgia community.

“Emory’s lobbyists network with legislators and their staff at the Georgia State Capitol to advocate for Emory’s interests.”/Christina Yan, Asst. News Editor

Other colleges in Georgia are also struggling to address growing mental health concerns. It is a matter of scale and, “resources are not promoted as much as they need to be,” according to Michael Wallace, a Georgia Institute of Technology student and SATT campus lead. Wallace said that upperclassmen are constantly asked what the Georgia Tech counseling center does, sometimes not knowing how to answer the question himself. The same sentiment is shared by University of Georgia student Yara Manasrah, who explained that information about resources is hard to come by.

At Emory, Pre-Major Advising Connections needs to educate students about resources like TimelyCare and CAPS and include them at the end of all weekly presentations. They need to be advertised on campus, online and anywhere where they can help students. Mental health resources can’t be over-advertised.

Going forward, Emory and its peer institutions need to ensure students can access and use mental health resources. It shouldn’t be up to students to lobby for a bill to force universities to distribute this information. We need clear, consistent communication, not just one-off emails. Teach us about our resources.

Colleges in Georgia, the situation is dire. We’re waiting.

Resources Available:

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) – https://counseling.emory.edu/

Emory Anytime Student Health Services – https://campuslife.emory.edu/anytimehealth.html

TimelyCare (Telehealth for Emory Students) – https://timelycare.com/emory

Emergency and Crisis Response (Daytime and After-Hours) – https://counseling.emory.edu/about/emergency.html OR (404-727-7450)

Student Intervention Services (24/7 Assistance) – (404-430-1120)

Student Health Services – (404-727-7551)

Student Health Service’s On-Call Physician – (404-727-7551) and press “0”

Emory Healthcare Psychiatrist-on-Call – (404-778-5000) (available after hours or weekends)

Respect Program (Sexual Assault/Interpersonal Violence) – (404-270-5360)

Georgia Crisis & Access Line – (1-800-715-4225)

National Suicide Hotline – (1-800-784-2433) OR (1-800-273-8255)

Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741. Students of color can text STEVE to 741741

Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ) – (866-488-7386)

TrevorChat Line (LBGTQ) – Text “trevor” to (202-304-1200) (7 Days/Week, 3pm-10pm EST)

Sarah Broder (24C) is from Stamford, Connecticut.