The moment where I needed to see a therapist did not announce itself ahead of time. There was no advance warning or courtesy notice. I was in the middle of my most difficult semester, and I didn’t understand the full weight of my academic burden until I realized I was starting to break. I wasn’t sleeping right, I was feeling fatigued, and I was losing hope. Thing suddenly welled up in a single night, and I had the clarity to realize I needed professional help. But in that same moment, I recounted the stories of close friends who had tried, and failed, to receive in a timely manner. It felt awful, because I knew I was spiraling here—tonight—but that help might only come over a month down the road. My crisis only became evident when I was in the middle of it, not weeks before it happened. This is why I am demanding change. More therapists and shorter wait times will make sure people in the midst of their worst moments on their worst days will get the vital help the need. To do anything less places students at risk and exacerbates that likelihood that they experience more crises than they have to. The COVID-19 pandemic will remove many of the outside supports we rely, like spending times with trusted friends or being able to see our families routinely. In addition, barriers like the SIC have newfound potential to deepen the mental and financial load placed on students, who are at an increased risk for poor mental health during the pandemic. For that same reason, now, more than ever, concrete steps like eliminating the SIC and reforming mental health services will protect more students from falling through the cracks.
Nishanth Krishnan, He/Him, 2021, Timothy Dwight College