One year ago today, Penn released the final report of the Task Force on Student Psychological Health and Welfare — a bundle of administrative recommendations, developed after a year of consultation and designed to remedy Penn's mental health crisis.
The task force formed after a string of student suicides that placed an ugly spotlight on the prevalence of mental illness among Penn students. It brought administrators, faculty, staff and students together to seek change in the way Penn tackles mental health, from bolstering CAPS resources to battling the cultural stigma associated with mental illness.
The Bridge: Freshman Mental Wellness club provides an open environment for freshmen to discuss the college experience. (Avalon Morell)
Since the release of the final report, multiple initiatives and programs have sprung up across campus, each with its own creative approach to the issue. At the same time, student activism and outside media have highlighted ways that the administration has fallen short in its efforts.
Today, mental health is a topic at the forefront of Penn minds, as the community continues to mourn student deaths and search for an answer. The Daily Pennsylvanian took a deep look at the issue's development over the past few years, the specific progress the administration has made and the way the issue is currently affecting students.
The Reach-A-Peer hotline was established to "provide peer support, information, and referrals to any and all students" at Penn (Avalon Morell)
On Feb. 17, 2015, the administration released the final report of the task force. The recommendations were broken down into four major categories: communication and education, centralizing information about mental health, engaging faculty, staff, students and families and optimizing resources for CAPS .
A year later, the administration has followed through on many of the recommendations — though there is still work to be done.