HuntsmanBuilding
Credit: Cindy Chen

Since Nov. 6, a CAPS clinician has been stationed in Huntsman Hall to provide care to Wharton students. Almost a week since the Counseling and Psychological Services made the announcement that Wharton would be the first undergraduate school to station a clinician in-house, students across schools have had mixed reactions.

Some students express blanket support for Penn taking steps to support more mental health services, while others push back on the idea of singling out Wharton over the other undergraduate schools.

For students like College junior Ellie Wynn, this move to bring mental health care to the students is a step in the right direction, but it doesn't do enough to help all students.

By adopting the embedded model, which brings care to the students rather than waiting for them to seek out help at CAPS, Penn is putting "a bandaid" on the situation, Wynn said.

“In a broader sense, obviously there is no quick fix to mental health and it’s not easy for Penn to create a culture of mental wellness, but I think that this one change is just too little too late,” Wynn said. 

“At the same time, I think that it could be a really good start for creating a better culture of wellness, but only if it were an option for all the colleges," she added.

Wharton administrators say the response has been positive among Wharton students for the most part.

"In the months ahead, we will continue to assess the program’s progress," Wharton Undergraduate Director of Student Life Lee Kramer wrote in an emailed statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Wharton junior Catalina Munoz said stationing a clinician in-house for Wharton students shows the school is making strides to promote a dialogue around mental health on campus. But the partiality towards Wharton, however, is "creating more of a divide between schools."

"By [only giving Wharton an embedded clinician], they're almost saying that Wharton students are more stressed and they're giving Wharton special treatment," Munoz said. "It's not like Wharton students' mental health is more important than the mental health of other students at this school."

The desire to expand mental health within the remaining three undergraduate schools is shared by the Dean's Advisory Board, a student organization that leads initiatives in the College. 

College Dean Paul Sniegowski told the DP that DAB is discussing possibly implementing a similar embedded program in the College with a structure of satellite CAPS counselors. He has plans to meet with the group and discuss the idea more concretely.

At the time of the announcement, however, CAPS Deputy Executive Director Meeta Kumar said CAPS had no plans to implement the embedded program in any other undergraduate school.

College senior and DAB member Emily Lurie said she is happy to see progress in mental health services offered at Penn, even though the College does not have its own embedded CAPS clinician. 

Although she did not yet know whether DAB would want to facilitate the implementation of a similar embedded program in the College, Lurie added that there is still an increasing awareness of and attention to mental health within the College. 

“It’s great to see that the school is doing things to try to increase mental health on campus,” Lurie said. “Any mental health movement is something that’s positive overall.”

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