Berkeley universities

Reviews | Mental health on college campuses amid Covid

For the publisher:

Re “The fast-spreading variant has campuses fearing a mental health crisis” (news article, December 23):

I am the parent of a sophomore at Dartmouth where three freshmen committed suicide in the 2020-21 school year. I totally agree that colleges and universities need to prioritize student mental health when tackling Covid-19 on their campuses. Many student deaths shouldn’t have been necessary to achieve this toll, but now that we see a trend, universities need to do better.

Increasing student access to mental health professionals is a start to tackling the crisis, but holistic policies that recognize the needs of students to come together and learn together are even more important. Universities should prioritize the well-being of students and demand vaccinations, frequent tests and mandatory masks. In the process, lives will be saved.

Gretchen Freeman Cappio
Seattle

For the publisher:

Your article doesn’t mention another crisis unfolding in college mental health. Before the pandemic, staff at university counseling centers were already overwhelmed by an ever-increasing demand for their services. Now, overworked, underpaid and exhausted, many therapists are leaving college counseling centers for less stressful jobs and better pay. Many do this to protect their own sanity.

Colleges across the country are struggling to find counselors because working for college counseling centers is not as desirable as it once was. Not only do students have more mental health issues, there are now fewer mental health experts on campus to help manage these issues.

Bettina Bohle-Frankel
Evanston, Illinois.
The author is a psychiatrist at Northwestern University and a member of the management team of the Association for College Psychiatry.

For the publisher:

Thanks to Sarah Maslin Nir for the insightful article “In a Pandemic, Bright Stories of Resilience” (front page, January 3). The virulent effects of the pandemic have tested our sense of resilience. Amidst stories of Covid choked with fear, despair, grief and uncertainty, these brilliant stories spark in us a sense of hope for the new normal.

When, as an international student at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in Berkeley, grapple with the brutal realities of the pandemic, the stories of Mark Finazzo and Jason Innocent inspire me to seek more of solutions than of problems. The growing threat of depression within the student community needs such stories of “remarkable resilience”.

I can’t wait to see more articles that articulate optimistic alternatives. Obviously, we all look forward to victory, not failure; hope, not despair; resilience, not withdrawal.

Malleswara Rao Ghattamaneni
Berkeley, California

For the publisher:

It’s safe to say that there was little reason to celebrate 2021, and with the various crises facing the nation, 2022 must be a year of action.

Building back better is the plan. It recognizes the gravity of our situation and sets a course for resolving these issues. But he is languishing.

If a Republican senator, only one in the 50, simply acknowledged the many crises plaguing us and offered his support for Build Back Better, then the process would begin. It would be a very late start, but a start.

Only one in 50.

Robert wagner
New York

For the publisher:

Re “A pop star who felt trapped and a manager who took advantage” (cover page, December 20):

Thank you for your continued coverage of Britney Spears’ financial abuse. Many people caught up in the guardianship system experience even greater indignity and harm: unnecessary institutionalization, over-medication, lack of adequate medical care and isolation from loved ones.

Trusteeship as a flight license is nothing new, used a century ago to steal the proceeds of treaty mining rights from the Osage of Oklahoma. Despite glowing statutory changes and media revelations over the past 30 years, the system has not improved in practice.

Indeed, with a booming cottage industry of professional guardians – some of whom “serve” hundreds of people – the overuse of guardianship and the lack of effective supervision has worsened.

Too many judges do not follow the law. Supreme state courts, long aware of the stakes, refuse to use their supervisory power to ensure compliance. Finally, no one has the slightest idea of ​​the number of individuals under guardianship. Very few states collect data. The elderly and the disabled are simply not important enough to be counted.

Bradley Geller
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The writer, a lawyer, drafted the Guardianship Reform Act of 1988 as legal advisor to the Michigan House Judiciary Committee.

For the publisher:

Re “A spouse is a blessing and a curse” (First person, Sunday Styles, December 26):

Thanks, thanks to Heather Havrilesky for her honest and accurate description of marital feelings. Not from the scene in “Girls” where the character of Lena Dunham is told by her dying grandmother that she will sometimes hate her future husband but that “it will pass” I felt so understood and validated.

Listening to my husband hack and snort in the shower filled me with feelings I was ashamed of. What a relief to know that I’m not the only one having nasty thoughts about someone I really love!

Lauren Smith
Monson, Mass.


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