In September 2022, a mental health working group formed in collaboration between the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), the Office of Campus Life, and University Health Services (UHS) released a blockbuster report on mental health on campus.
The report details a series of recommendations to increase support and resources for mental health on campus. In the more than six months since its initial release, progress has been made on several action items introduced in the report, including funding for a counselor outreach program and the establishment of a Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) careline.
“Mental health is part of the work we’ve been doing and will continue to do,” said USG President Stephen Daniels ’24, who served as vice chair of the Mental Health Resources Task Force at the time of the report’s initial release. .
USG and the Office of Campus Life are committed to publishing quarterly updates of the recommendations. The next update, to be released next week, will provide more specific information about Lyft services for transportation to off-campus mental health providers offered by the Office of Campus Life.
By expanding these services, the initiative aims to encourage students to seek mental health care off campus and meet with potential counselors who are better equipped to work with specific identities or communities, as opposed to using university counselors on campus.
Daniels told the Daily Princetonian that this particular proposal “presents some more complications because it deals with an existing partnership that Princeton already has. [with Lyft]He emphasized the value of the initiative, saying it is “important that transportation is affordable and available to all students.”
The original report listed several initiatives to be completed this semester. According to Daniels, one of the stated goals was to re-establish the UHS Student Health Advisory Board, which has been successfully implemented. The Student Board meets regularly with high-level staff at UHS and CPS to discuss plans for student engagement with mental health.
Another proposal slated for implementation this semester deals with the expansion of Tigerwell, an initiative that includes an outreach counselor program specifically for students of certain identities. Tigerwell has secured funding through fiscal 2028 Daniels explained that the initiative funds and expands counselors for “international student-athletes, LGBTQ students” and more. Similarly to Lyft’s proposal, he said the purpose of the Outreach Counselor Program is “[encourage] To care about people who affirm the identity of diverse students.”
In an interview with ‘Prince’, Vice President of Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun acknowledged that one of the main barriers to implementing the report’s initiatives is that “some of these proposals require grants or gifts that can take time. There are sometimes administrative barriers, such as the requirements of our financial processes, that affect how we can distribute emergency funds.”
Despite these challenges, the Mental Health Action Group has also secured the necessary funding to continue several initiatives it plans to implement this summer. The report’s proposal for on-demand counseling services in the fall of 2023 was actually implemented ahead of schedule when the CPS Careline, a 24/7 hotline, was established in November 2022.
The report also aimed to establish a residential college response system. An early idea that involves testing students’ well-being by tracking swipes of dining hall food is still under review. However, the Residential Life Coordinator (RLC) is now trained to respond to various well-being tests where there is no risk of serious harm to an individual or another member of the community.
Additionally, reducing wait times at CPS and increasing drop-in counseling hours were other important recommendations of the report. According to Calhoun, “The average wait time for an initial consultation this past semester was 3 days, and the average wait time for an intake after an initial consultation has been a week.”
This is a decrease from the initial report, which found that the average wait time for an initial CPS consultation was 5.22 days, with an average wait between initial consultation and intake of 14.75 days. Also, Ye College now offers drop-in counseling hours. All drop-in times can be found on this event calendar.
Janie Kim is a features and news staff writer for ‘Prince’. He can be reached at [email protected].
Rebecca Cho is a news staff writer for ‘Prince’. He can be reached at [email protected].
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