UC Student Association study awards campus mental health C-

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The UC Student Association released a study Feb. 18 ranking the mental health services provided at UC campuses. The study awarded UC Berkeley a C-.

The UC Campus Student Mental Health Evaluations, which were conducted between September 2015 and February 2016, assigned letter grades to the campuses based on questions relating to three service areas, including accessibility, diversity and outreach. The average grade for all nine undergraduate campuses was a C.

“I’m not surprised,” said Deepika Dilip, regarding the results of the evaluations. Dilip is the co-chair of the Mental Health Coalition, a campus organization unaffiliated with the study.

The scores are low, said UCSA President Kevin Sabo, because mental health services are low priority and receive little funding. He added that long wait times, a lack of follow-up visits, a lack of physical space and low diversity in staff are typical on every campus.

The evaluation of each campus’s services was based off a rubric of 17 questions relating to topics such as diversity of staff and students’ awareness of the services available to them, according to Sabo.

The study aims to highlight potential areas of improvement and calls for increased financial support of campus mental health centers. The questions were posed to both counseling and psychological services staff and students accessing these services.

Berkeley did not provide data on the diversity of staff,” Sabo said, adding that the gaps in data availability did not affect the assigned grades. “If any campus did not provide this information or did want to provide it, it was removed from the equation.”

According to Kim LaPean, communications manager at University Health Services, UC Berkeley worked with UCSA to provide demographic data from campus counseling and psychological services, and is unclear as to why it was not included.

“University Health Services applauds the student engagement around access to mental health resources,” LaPean said in an email, adding that administrators are already actively responding to a number of concerns raised by the survey.

The UC Office of the President and the individual campuses have allotted more funding to address such issues, according to LaPean. She said the Berkeley campus is actively hiring more staff — including psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers — to address growing needs and reduce wait times.

“I hope that with these results, UC Berkeley administration, along with UCOP, can see that students are more than their grades and see how far behind we’re falling in terms of student mental health,” said Melissa Hsu, ASUC academic affairs vice president, in an email.

Hsu added that her office would be conducting a survey in March about mental health specifically at UC Berkeley.

These grades were meant to be a conversation starter,” Sabo said. “(There’s) a lot of work to be done but we can work together to bring it up to A’s and B’s.”

Contact Shradha Ganapathy at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sganapathy_dc