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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the editor: College not offering sufficient mental health support

On Monday, I was one of the few in attendance at the Non-Cognitive Factors for Student Success presentation. I found the presentation interesting and engaging but was left with more questions than answers.

While I am glad the researchers are taking a holistic approach to defining success, I am greatly concerned by the confidence they seemed to have in the efficacy of resources such as Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS) and Academic Advising. They cited academic difficulty and mental health as the two most common reasons students leave Grinnell.

As a student at Grinnell, I am personally affected every day by the lack of sufficient support. As a Student Advisor, I often had to serve as a peer counselor to friends who were unable to receive proper help from resources such as SHACS. I am not a trained counselor; I am a student with challenges and commitments of my own.

It is exhausting and unfair for students experiencing academic or health difficulties to have to constantly advocate for themselves. The burden should not be on students to provide networks of support for themselves and others.

It is unproductive and frankly dangerous to expect Grinnell students to be able to care for themselves and their peers without proper institutional support.

Those of us who have attempted to utilize SHACS and Academic Advising know how important those resources are. Support from a trained counselor or advisor can be the difference in a student’s ability to stay at Grinnell. Beyond that, access to support saves lives. It is unacceptable to expect students to be “successful” at Grinnell without first ensuring they are able to just get by.

It is unfair to arbitrarily measure Grinnellians’ “grit” without providing them anything close to adequate support. If a student is too ill, stressed or depressed to attend class, what good is their drive to succeed?

I urge the research team to prioritize strengthening vital resources such as SHACS and Academic Advising in order to truly allow for students to succeed at Grinnell.

—Daria Brosius ’15

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