Mental Health Task Force Launched by the University System of Georgia

Across college campuses, students are experiencing mental health issues due
to anxiety and stress. This can range anywhere from the pressure of high academic
performance, exposure to discrimination or violence or dealing with an assault.

College students often seek help from the counseling center, but what if that
isn’t enough?

According to Marty Swanbrow Becker, associate professor at Florida State University, on The Conversation, colleges should focus on population health and prevention. Increasing social connections by creating more shared spaces or reducing stress-inducing aspects, like discrimination, are examples of this method.

Now, the University System of Georgia has joined the cause. USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley announced in a news release in October of last year that he has appointed a Mental Health Task Force to address the challenges students face on Georgia college campuses.

According to the release, the task force will be made up of representatives from the medical field, mental health organizations, state agencies and the university system, including being co-chaired by Albany State University President Marion Fedrick and Valdosta State University President Richard Carvajal.

“Incidents of mental health challenges are too common on campuses across
the country and in the university system,” Wrigley said. “I am charging task force
members to understand the scope of the issues and to review programs, policies
and best practices within USG as well as campuses around the country. Collaboration among USG institutions, along with state and local agencies and community stakeholders, is critical to ensuring all resources and partnerships are on the table. The task force will provide recommendations to the Board of Regents and myself at the end of its review.”

In 2019, the American College Health Association found that 87% of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, 45% felt so depressed that it was difficult to function, 66% felt overwhelming anxiety, 56% felt things were hopeless and 13% seriously considered suicide. 2% attempted suicide.

“As a president of an institution, my first and foremost concern is the welfare of our campus community, including students, faculty and staff,” Carvajal said in the release. “I’m honored to be asked to team with President Fedrick on this vitally important initiative and look forward to working with the other task force members to arrive at clear, implementable solutions.”

Written by: Alex Dunn

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