I’ve proofread the manuscript for my second book and will send it over to my literary agent this week. This accounts for my time away from this blog.
My agent sent me a link to a news article about the college mental health crisis on campuses across America. The situation is more dire than it has ever been for young adults.
In my memoir Left of the Dial two short scenes detail my experiences with trying to get mental health help at my college–The College of Staten Island in New York City in fall 1986 and spring 1987.
The first time I met with a woman at the Student Life Office for two times. I didn’t click with her and couldn’t articulate exactly why I thought my life was falling apart.
This was in fall 1986 one year before I had the breakdown. I had the psychic intuition that something was not right so sought help.
After not clicking with the woman a year later in 1987 shortly before I graduated I went to the mental health center on campus and spoke with a therapist for one half hour meeting.
He told me in these exact words that he couldn’t help me because I was graduating and after that I was on my own. No kidding. Those were his exact words.
The mental health center counselor didn’t give me a referral to a therapist in the community. Apparently he “diagnosed” me in his mind as just another student nervous about her prospects in life post-school.
Just four months later I wound up in a hospital.
The news article I’m going to link to now details that students in need of help are asked if it’s an emergency when they contact their school’s mental health center. The students have no idea what constitutes an emergency and whether what they’re going through is minor or serious.
One young woman interviewed in the article attempted suicide because her wait to see a counselor at her school was too long. As a result, she lost her job, her off-campus apartment, and her ability to get a pilot’s license.
This is no joke. What if I had gotten help in fall 1986 when I was in the prodromal that is the first stage of my illness? Would I not have wound up in a hospital?
It appalls me that 30 years later–yes 30 years later–nothing has changed at colleges and universities in their approach to helping students with mental health issues.
It has only gotten worse.
Here’s the article on the college mental health center crisis.
(The link might take you to Twitter so I hope it goes through okay.)