Lauren Enos-Asst. Opinions Editor
Upon admission to any higher education institution in the United States, medical forms are required to be submitted by every student. Colleges need to know if a student is up to date on vaccines, because that has the potential to affect many other students’ health. Colleges also need to know if a student has any physical health conditions that may affect their ability to attend class or learn. If a student ever needs to be treated medically on campus, the medical professionals need that student’s most recent medical information to do their job best. While physical health information is important for higher education, institutions to keep on record, I feel mental health is just as important and should be treated so.
Colleges and universities should place as much importance on mental health as physical health. Recently, especially in mainstream media, more importance has been placed on mental health awareness. While this is great for those who suffer from mental health issues, it may not be enough. I think colleges need to do more to ensure their students get the help they need.
Colleges could have mental health screenings for accepted students just like they have physical health screenings. This wouldn’t necessarily be a document that would influence or hinder a student’s acceptance, but a form that would be completed after they are officially a student. By having mandatory mental health screenings for students, it would ensure that all students with mental health issues get the opportunity to be treated effectively. This would also benefit the college or university because their students would perform their best if treated effectively.
Sure, students can register in the disabilities department if they already know they have a learning disability or mental or physical health issue. However, those suffering from mental health issues don’t always know it. Or, they may know something is wrong, but they don’t know what it is and never seek help. These students suffering in silence may not know where they can get help, or even if they should get help. They may not be able to make or keep an appointment with the busy schedule of being a full-time student demands.
The growing climate of acceptance regarding mental health comes with a responsibility of colleges to encourage awareness and promote effective change. At such a pivotal point in many young adults’ lives, higher education institutions should do more to ensure their students’ success in regards to their mental health. It would not only benefit individual students, but the school as a whole.