“There’s just no outlet. I had to go to the [The Daily Pennsylvanian], and now I don’t know if anything will come of it,” Ariel Epstein said, after she spoke out in a recent article about the way she was treated by Counseling and Psychological Services.
Reading the DP, it seems that there are many students who have similar experiences of feeling that Penn resources, including CAPS, do not cater to their needs. Since the Dean Advisory Board's goal is to address student concerns, we feel compelled to reply.
Many of these DP articles are based on the stories of students who, like Epstein, feel they have nowhere to voice their opinions and share their stories. While the DP is a great outlet to share experiences with the larger student body, we want students to know that there are many outlets on our campus to voice concerns and make productive change.
There are specific people in the administration and groups like DAB with the exact purpose of hearing about your experiences and improving them. While DAB does not focus on mental health specifically, there are groups that do, and the more input they receive from the student body the more productive they can be. A great example of this is the CAPS advisory board. Just like many other advisory groups, this board’s purpose is to represent student concerns to CAPS administration.
DAB has realized part of the problem is a lack of awareness of the resources that already exist. There are many resources for mental health, sexual assault, or academic issues that students might not know about. While we still believe that all mental health resources, including CAPS, should be improved and expanded, there are many resources that Penn funds that are under-utilized.
In an effort to address this problem, DAB has compiled a list of resources on our website, with the goal of making a succinct, user-friendly guide consisting of many outlets available to students. We believe it will give students a list of resources to use when someone has a problem and a way to be proactive. It also provides some of the mental health, academic, and campus safety resources that aren't widely talked about. Please look at this list at upenndab.org/resources.
While it might take vast structural and cultural changes to improve mental health at Penn, we hope this list will help students find further support from the resources that already exist.
MORGAN SAVIGE and EMILY LURIE are College juniors and the co-chairs of the College Dean Advisory Board.