Survey paves way for Mental Health awareness

By Cameron Stuart | Radio Director

Baylor students awoke to a campus-wide email from Student Life last Tuesday, with a mental health survey attached imploring students to provide feedback on the campus’ mental health resources.

The survey, which was comprised of six multiple choice and short answer questions, was drafted by Savage, Minn sophomore student senator Carleigh Allan.

“I wrote the survey to gauge what students know and don’t know what is available to them,” Allan said. “I can guess all I want about what the students need, but hearing from them is obviously the best feedback.”

The survey is part of an initiative for an ad-hoc mental health committee Allan set up last semester to raise awareness for mental health issues on Baylor’s campus.

“I felt writing the survey would help the ad-hoc committee do its best work,” Allan said. “We had to make sure we knew what the students needed.”

Student Body President Hannah Causey also has a health department within her cabinet focusing on both physical and mental health of Baylor students.

“I think bettering the counseling center specifically is very important,” Causey said. “Bettering those resources that are pushed out to our students will help our community at large, not just Baylor.”

Statistics certainly back up the concerns held by Baylor’s student government. In a study done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 75 percent of lifetime mental health cases are acquired before the age of 24. Additionally, 73 percent of students with a mental health condition developed it on campus, with 34 percent of those students saying their college was unaware of their personal crisis.

“I think these issues start in college because this is where you’re starting to figure yourself out,” Causey said. “I think it’s a tough time because you don’t have your family right there or your friends you grew up with to help you.”

Baylor counseling center currently offers 10 different types of therapy, according to the survey. Treatments offered include: therapy for individuals, groups and couples, as well as online surveys and dietician services. Even though the survey she wrote was designed for feedback, Allan said she is already confident in the free services Baylor offers.

“Our counseling center is the best counseling center in Waco,” Allan said. “But there is a disconnect between the center and the students, and their resources right now are being underutilized.”

The survey serves as a precursor to Baylor’s first ever “Mental Awareness Week” which will take place between Feb. 11 and Feb. 15. Student government and the ad-hoc mental health committee aim to increase awareness of mental health issues on campus and promote the services available to students for coping with them.

The counseling center will be running events at the Baylor Sciences Building, including a showing of the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” lunch discussion regarding sexual minorities and mental health, and a snack presentation to raise awareness for eating disorders.

“We just hope to educate people,” Counseling Center Outreach Coordinator Dr. Vincent Walford said. “Our theme for the day is destigmatizing mental health.”

Services offered by the counseling center can be found at the Baylor Counseling Center webpage. Walk-ins are welcome at their offices on the ground floor of Dutton Avenue Office and Parking Facility.