To the Editor:

After reading the recently finalized 73-page Student Life Report and The Hoya’s coverage of it (“Finalized Student Life Report Debuts,” A1, Feb. 28, 2012), I felt both exasperated and disappointed. This seminal document, purported to discuss and, ultimately, promote “the limited upside of student happiness” failed to direct any attention toward the mental and emotional health of Georgetown students, something that pervasively affects student life and, moreover, is inextricably intertwined with the pursuit of happiness.

Indeed, mental and emotional health is not even listed in this report as a topic that has been consciously omitted. However, roughly 10 percent of Georgetown students present at Counseling and Psychiatric Services within any given year, and in total approximately 25 percent of undergraduates seek help at CAPS sometime during their collegiate careers. Moreover, according to the Spring 2011 National College Health Assessment — whose nationally reported statistics are, according to Carol Day, director of Health Education Services, representative of those gleaned from the Georgetown community —18.8 percent of college students self-report as having been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, and over 10 percent have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety within the past year.

Through programming and outreach efforts, CAPS, Health Education Services and a variety of other organizations are able to discuss such pressing topics with thousands of students every year, both inside and outside of the classroom. Such work is, however, limited in number due to a lack of resources and never enough to reach every student, especially those most in need, who lack the energy and ability to attend to class or frequent extracurricular activities. Further raising awareness about such issues is also impeded by a lack of overt institutional support for and recognition that maintaining mental and emotional health is, indeed, a very real challenge for many Georgetown students.

The Student Life Report cautions that, “It is impossible to care for the whole person without considering their artistic endeavors;” I opine that if we really take our slogan of cura personalis to heart, we ought not to neglect the psyche, a source of great strength but also potential adversity.

Tyler White (COL ’14)

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*