UCLA needs focus on preventative mental health care for students

Mental health is a big problem for the University of California. A really big one.

For reference, the number of UC students utilizing counseling services has grown by 54 percent, while the enrollment growth has been 15.5 percent over this same period. Clearly, it’s a mounting problem that needs to be addressed.

The UC’s mental health resources provide services, such as UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services center, that help students who are in need. But these services are reactive and are not able to meet the growing demand for mental health services – CAPS’ lengthy appointment wait times are evidence of that. UCLA must treat the root causes of the mental illness, not the symptoms, by advocating for preventative practices that promote good mental health.

UCLA could do this by implementing a required online summer training course for incoming first-year students to expose them to preventive techniques, such as sticking to a regular sleep schedule. It could then supplement this by stationing representatives on the residential Hill to direct students to the many preventative mental health resources on campus, should they need them.

While many students may be aware of what mental health treatment entails, they may not know exactly what preventative techniques are useful for in promoting good mental health. Furthermore, even if students are aware of preventative techniques, factors such as separation from home and increased financial and academic pressures make it difficult to continuously implement these methods in their daily lives.

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