POINT: UCSD Needs to Increase Awareness of Mental Illness
The University of California, San Diego is ranked #21 nationally for colleges with the most depressed student bodies (the one ranking no one seems to be concerned with). But what are they doing to combat the mental health crisis sweeping the campus? Nothing, that’s what. Campus admin hosts “puppy therapy” and “primal screams” for finals as if those are adequate mental health care, yet they won’t let me keep my Burmese python, Fluffy, in my dorm!
UCSD needs to increase awareness of mental health issues in ways that are clinically proven to benefit the student population. For example, studies have shown that physical exercise increases endorphins in the brain, thereby improving mental health, so we should have a mandatory 10K run for all undergraduate students, and a mandatory 15K for graduate students. By mandatory, I of course mean that students who don’t participate yearly are ineligible for graduation. We wouldn’t want it to increase stress, though, so students would be allowed to run a half marathon their senior year to get out of the requirement. This would have to be graded for speed, just to be fair.
Alternatively, it has been found that spending time in nature is good for the brain, so we should cover the floors of dorms with dirt, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in nature. The easiest way to do this would be to just have custodial staff stop mopping. From there, the dirt will build up on its own. It is only campus-wide innovations like these that could introduce students to the mental health issues that plague their classmates and allow those mentally ill students to truly heal.
COUNTERPOINT: UCSD Makes Me Very Aware of My Mental Illness
I wake up every morning with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Then, I drag myself out of bed only to reel at the realization that I have to live another day. Another day of laundry, coding labs, and begging my roommates to put the toilet seat down so I don’t fall in again when I have to shit at 3:36 a.m. And what does UCSD do about this? They remind me to “take care of myself,” after assigning me 15 hours of reading a day on top of five hours of classes and two back-to-back labs. I’m so tired all the time. My girlfriend left me because of what Student Health called “stress-induced erectile dysfunction.” UCSD has done what no therapist has managed to do: make me admit there is something horribly wrong in my life.
Unfortunately, that “something wrong” is UCSD itself. If anything, we should decrease our efforts to spread awareness for mental illness. How about a Mental Health Ignorance week, so I could forget my woes for a fraction of time within my cursed existence? Perhaps if I could truly forget what joy feels like, I can convince myself that I’m fine. But for now, can we please pretend that crying myself to sleep while listening to the podcast of my MATH 20E lecture on two times speed is normal? I don’t need the additional stress of figuring out if my insurance will cover SSRIs — my depression is here to stay. Will UCSD please let me forget about it?