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Mental health reforms must be proactive and transparent

<h5>McCosh Health Center</h5>
<h6>Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
McCosh Health Center
Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

The recent USG mental health report not only outlined a series of ambitious proposals for the next year, but also invited students to “join a broader discussion about mental health resources at Princeton.” As The Daily Princetonian’s Editorial Board, we accept this invitation — now more than ever, it’s essential that mental health resources at Princeton are expanded and that the University and USG practice transparency to make good on their promises. 

The University has pledged to implement a variety of USG’s recommendations. We call on the administration to be transparent in the implementation of these key measures to improve student mental health and to provide students with more avenues for feedback and discussion.

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The University must focus its efforts on consistently providing students with mental health resources rather than reactive initiatives. It is not enough to merely flood the student body with resources in the wake of campus tragedies. Instead, mental health resources must be made more visible and accessible, pushed to the forefront of campus life even in the absence of tragic events.

USG’s mental health report contained substantive and admirable reforms that address mental health proactively and improve student access to mental health resources. These plans included offering 24/7 on-demand counseling through a telehealth line, hiring more counselors to expand Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) drop-in hour availability, improve the CPS experience for students from marginalized backgrounds, increase transportation to off-campus care, and working with Peer Academic Advisors (PAAs) to improve academic support. The timelines for these proposals vary, with some set to be implemented as early as next semester, while others might take a year to be achieved. 

We cannot afford for these goals to fall through the cracks. Given that the timeline for implementation varies so greatly, how are we, as students, supposed to gauge and evaluate the University’s progress? How will we ensure that these changes are truly effective?

In order to ensure that these proposals become successful policies, there must be consistent transparency and dialogue from the University throughout the implementation process. The USG report promises to “provide quarterly updates regarding progress towards each goal.” These updates have to do more than simply keeping students appraised of developments. They must also provide space for them to weigh in on discussions. 

It is only through the creation of consistent feedback loops that the student body will be able to identify issues and offer revisions in real time. Without increasing transparency, accountability will suffer and real, positive change cannot take place. 

Promises have been made. Now, all that remains is for the University to deliver.

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146th Editorial Board

Chair

Rooya Rahin ’23

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Members

Genrietta Churbanova ’24

Caitlin Limestahl ’23

Rohit Narayanan ’24

Abigail Rabieh ’25

Mohan Setty-Charity ’24

Ndeye Thioubou ’25

Lucia Wetherill ’25

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