I n th e wake of student suicides and ongoing campus discussion about mental health, the University administration announced Wednesday a new task force to examine mental health resources at Penn.
Officially dubbed the Task Force on Student Psychological Health and Welfare, the commission will make recommendations to improve mental health resources and the overall state of mental well-being. The committee expects to finish its research at the end of 2014 and release its recommendations in early 2015.
“We need to see what more we can do, and this is one of the highest priorities,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian Tuesday afternoon. Gutmann created the task force with Provost Vincent Price.
The task force will be co-chaired by former dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Rebecca Bushnell and director of education for the Department of Psychiatry Anthony Rostain. Joann Mitchell, the vice president for institutional advancement, will be the vice chair. Counseling and Psychological Services Director Bill Alexander is not on the committee.
Although there are no student representatives, the task force expects to consult with faculty experts, student leaders and other administrators in its research.
The administration has already made several tangible changes. On Jan. 28, CAPS announced it would expand its hours and hire three additional staff members, a move many considered a step in the right direction to address complaints of inaccessibility and long wait times.
On Tuesday, Penn released the results of a similar task force, this one examining alcohol use. Its most substantive recommendation was to hire an alcohol and safety educator.
Staff writer Fola Onifade contributed reporting.
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