While a University-wide mental health task force is set to release a report next year, students and faculty are demanding that Penn immediately consider ways to improve mental health and wellness on campus.
The Green Ribbon Campaign — a student-led mental health and wellness advocacy coalition — held its first rally on Monday afternoon to raise questions about the current state of mental heath on campus and to present its platform on ways Penn can improve.
“We need to tell Amy Gutmann enough is enough, we need to get tough,” School of Social Policy & Practice professor Toorjo Ghose said.
At an institutional level, the group is proposing that more resources be devoted to Counseling and Psychological Services. It wants the minimum wait time to get an appointment at CAPS to be reduced to seven days and additional CAPS hours on Saturdays and Sundays, among other ideas.
The group is also proposing, at the individual level, that the University increase peer-to-peer training among students and specifically add more regular outreach by resident and graduate advisors to their residents about their mental wellness.
The campaign is also calling for a change in mental health dialogue on campus to foster the creation of a cohesive and supportive community and eliminate stigma surrounding mental health resources.
Mental health at Penn is “something that should have been addressed a long time ago,” said College sophomore Derek Sexton, who is chairing the outreach committee of the mental health initiative.
He explained that the University needs to start contemplating the proposals of the Green Ribbon Campaign, as they represent the desires of the student body. Sexton noted that these proposals all stem from complaints brought by students to the student leaders of the Penn Undergraduate Health Coalition.
“There are things that could be implemented now that could have an effect,” he said.
The campaign plans to hold rallies and maintain a visible presence in the coming weeks to ensure that its members’ message comes across to the administration.
“We really need to do something that addresses the mental health situation on campus,” Ghose said.
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