Mental health survey is a positive way to reach out

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Though providing preemptive resources for incoming students is a great step towards shedding light on the serious issue of mental health on campus, the efforts can’t stop there. 

Incoming students to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will be offered voluntary mental health screening in the form of an online survey starting this fall. According to an article from CNN, this voluntary questionnaire will be designed to screen new students for depression.

With mental health struggles being especially prevalent on university campuses, confronting it as soon as students first step foot onto campus is a refreshing initiative.

As students, we accept a lot of mental health problems as something normal because of the high-stress environment of university, when in fact they aren’t. The introduction of this survey opens up a lot of doors to reducing stigma and the isolation that comes with mental illness.

University students across North America who seek help for depression and other mental health issues currently face long wait times to see a counsellor in person. Because of the barriers that exist in accessing mental health resources on campuses, the idea of having a survey that can do the work of directing students to online resources or in-person help is appealing. 

This screening survey has the potential to validate many students having difficulty due to their mental health state. By asking students to take part, UCLA is acknowledging depression and other mental health issues as something they don’t simply need to accept as a part of getting a degree.

The UCLA survey will also be sent to students before they seek help for themselves, which can make a real difference for those unsure of whether or not to reach out. 

That being said, judging how much and what kind of help someone needs from a “brief survey” is extremely complicated. It’ll be difficult to discern someone’s genuine mental health state from a standard set of questions. 

The amount of support that follows the distribution of online resources will be more important to address. UCLA, and all other universities taking notes, will still need to make tangible changes to their counselling system in order to support students struggling with their mental health beyond this survey. 

Overall, the fact that UCLA is doing more than speaking to the issue of mental health is something to be applauded. The survey can show students that their university is concerned about their wellbeing, but they’ll need to do more to make a real impact on mental health on university campuses. 

 

— Journal Editorial Board

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