Our View: Where does $20 get you?

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Our view logo

Editorial Board

In the near future, the university will take $20 out of your account to enhance mental health services on campus. No, it is not optional, and no, you don’t know what the money will be used for, neither does the administration. Without any set plan on how to spend the money, it doesn’t make any sense why the university is implementing this fee.

Mental health on the Kent campus continually remains one of our top story providers concerning how long the wait is to get help, the quality of care students are offered, how the money is used and in the recent development where a $20 fee will be placed on every Kent State student’s account every semester. There are about 23,000 undergraduate students and 7,000 graduate students each and every year. Doing some quick mental math, undergraduate students will provide $920,000 between spring and fall. Graduate students will provide $280,000 during the two semesters.

We want to know what this money is going toward but for now, there is no determined plan for how this money is going to be spent, whether on expanding staff or facilities or working to broaden the availability and fighting to kill the waiting list that rears its head around November. That is just concerning the main campus. We want to know if they are working to implement plans for regional campuses and how they want to improve the mental health standards across all of Kent State regardless of the location of its students.

While the university may feel they’re adequately addressing our main campus mental healthcare dilemma, asking for over $1 million a year with no clear plan of how to control the issue makes it seem like they’re just trying to subdue the backlash, not help the students. How can the university ask for money when they have no plan in place? There is no way for us to check on where this money is going, no trail to follow yet.

As fall comes closer with pumpkin spice and everything nice there are also those who get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and while it is nice to have mental health services on campus for those who are unable to travel off-campus to get help there are always long wait times that hold off receiving that help. There are two locations to go to for help, White Hall and DeWeese Health Center, but by mid-September, you may wind up with an appointment in March. These long wait times can keep people from receiving the help they desperately need. For some people this can have dire consequences. We want to know if our money being pulled is actually coming to our aid, if it is going to alleviate these wait times and make mental health a priority.