Success! Skidmore College Students in Crisis Will Get the Mental Health Care They Need

Skidmore Ignores Valerie’s Plea For Help

Earlier this year, Skidmore College freshman Valerie Janovic was dealing with a difficult personal situation, but couldn’t get an appointment at herschool’s counseling center for a week. She tried to handle the stress on her own, but ended up having a mental breakdown so severe that campus safety was called.

Followingtheir advice, she contactedthe school’s on-call counselor who asked if she was suicidal. When Valerie replied that she was not, the counselor told her to call back to make an appointment at the counseling center for a week’s time, and hung up.

Unfortunately, Valerie is not the only Skidmore student who has been denied timely mental health care. The school’s counseling center resources arecurrently stretched so thin that the only students who receive immediate assistance are those who say they are suicidal. But thanks to Valerie and over 51,000 Care2 members, that is about to change.

Care2 Supports Valerie and Other Students in Crisis

After spending monthstrying to get school officials to take seriously her proposal for improving Skidmore’s mental health care system, Valerie created a Care2 petitionoutlining her demands. This past Tuesday, armed with her petition, she held a demonstration in front of Skidmore’s dining hall to pressurethe school’s administration into providing students with proper mental health care.

Valerie courageously shared her story with the crowd, and was joined by two other students who spoke of how Skidmore also let them down during times of need.One girl described how she was unable to get assistance untilweeks after suffering an anxiety attack. Another told of a friend who was considering suicide, but wasunable to receive help from the school.

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After the demonstration, the students delivered Valerie’sCare2 petitionto Skidmore College President Philip Glotzbach. The petition lays out the following demands for improving mental health services at the school:

  • Employ another full-time psychologist;
  • Create a 24-hour hotline for students in crisis, including those with panic attacks and other mental health concerns that Skidmore currently doesn’t recognize; and
  • Employ a crisis counselor to assist students who cannot wait to meet with a psychologist.

Skidmore Listens to Valerie’s Demands

Thanks to the petitionsigned by over 51,000 Care2 members, the on-campus demonstration, local press coverageand Valerie’s persistence, she was finally granted a meeting with President Glotzbach. During that meeting,hetold Valerie that the school is now in the process of hiring an additional psychologist for the counseling center and getting a contract in place for a 24-hour hotline. Both will be available for students starting inthe nextschool year.

Although hewas reluctant to discuss Valerie’s final demand, she pressed him to expand the school’s definition of a mental health care emergency to also include students suffering from panic attacks and mental breakdowns. By the end of the meeting, President Glotzbach promised that the administration would discuss ways to organize counseling services so that Valerie’sfinal demand would be met. He even said that they may open up five crisis counseling slots at the end of the day for students in crisis who are not suicidal.

Success!

With the support of the Care2 community, 19-year-old Valerie Janovic has successfullyensured that every Skidmore student in crisis will now be able to get the immediate mental health care they need. Congratulations to Valerie and all the Care2 members who signed up to help her.

If you have an issue that you care deeply about, just like Valerie, you can start your own Care2 petition. Use this handy guide to help you get started, and soon youll find Care2 members signing up to help you make a difference.

81 comments

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