Remembering Mental Health Resources During Finals
As T.S. Eliot puts it in The Waste Land:
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
For academics and students alike, April is one of the hardest months of the year, falling as it does in the midst of preparations for final exams and essays, and the grading that goes along with them.
At this stressful time of the year, it is more important than ever to refer our students and ourselves to the mental health resources that the University of Texas provides for employees and students. The UT Counseling and Mental Health Center provides help for students in crisis through a CMHC Crisis Line (512-471-CALL (2255)) and offers $5 individual, psychiatric and couples counseling.
While this information is important to provide to our students in crisis, the CMHC often gets busier at this time of year as well, so including their information in our syllabi and talking about their services before a crisis develops can be an important step. I just looked at my own syllabus, and, while I provided the Behavior Concerns Line, and the emergency evacuation information, I neglected to reference the CMHC. I plan to change this on my next syllabus.
Many psychiatric illnesses occur during the time students are in college, in men during the late teenage years and early twenties, and in women a bit later. The more we can give our students access to support during these difficult times, the better.
Moreover, by putting the CMHC on syllabi and discussing it with students, we are also fighting the stigma of mental illness in this country. At this time of the year, it's important to be aware of that stigma and work against it by providing information about counseling and mental health.