The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Students with mental health needs deserve representation

At this afternoon’s Student Senate meeting (3:30 p.m. at Hughes-Trigg), the body will consider adding a seat to represent both the mental health and physically disabled communities.

The constitution of the Senate requires a community comprise of at least 250 students in order for representation needs to be satisfied.

The National Institute for Mental Health’s statistical models, here exposited onto a campus of 10,500 students, suggest this campus is home to:

More than 100 students living with OCD.

More than 425 students living with ADD.

More than 1,000 students with mood disorders.

More than 214 students with bipolar disorder.

More than 115 students with schizophrenia.

Given the 250 student threshold, the Mental Health representation would need four seats to represent the members of its community living with mood disorders alone.

So then the question becomes, ‘Why do students with mental health issues need representation?’

Living with any disease creates a need for treatment. Students are usually undergoing a process in which their diseases are just beginning to show themselves due to their ages and the norms of how symptoms arise.

As such, medication management, access to doctoral consultation, and the ability to adjust those as students’ symptoms evolve creates a need for students to have access to a therapist on campus, access to a full service pharmacy on campus, and at least one social worker on campus, in addition to the coordinator, who would work for the students, not the health care center.

In order to have its needs met, the community needs representation within the Student Senate. Additionally, it is time that each student living with these diseases is no longer the token representative of the mental health world within his social sphere.

There needs to be a public representative to whom students with mental health disorders can rely on for both personal and community-wide advocacy.

Given the qualification of threshold and the briefest of overviews given above to need, I herein urge all senators to vote in favor of the creation of a chair for students with mental health needs.

Patrick Seaworth is a first-year law student. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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