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Mental health reforms must be proactive and transparent

The recent USG mental health report not only outlined a series of ambitious proposals for the next year, but also invited students to “join a broader discussion about mental health resources at Princeton.” As The Daily Princetonian’s editors, we accept this invitation—now more than ever, it is imperative that mental health resources at Princeton are expanded and that the University and USG practice transparency in delivering on their promises.

The University undertook to implement a variety of USG’s recommendations. We call on the administration to be transparent in the implementation of these keys measures to improve student mental health and to provide students with more avenues for feedback and discussion.

The University should focus its efforts on consistently providing students with mental health resources rather than reactive initiatives. It is not enough to simply flood the student body with resources in the wake of campus tragedies. Instead, mental health resources should be made more visible and accessible, pushed to the forefront of campus life even in the absence of tragic events.

USG’s mental health report contained substantive and admirable reforms that proactively address mental health and improve student access to mental health resources. These plans included offering 24/7 on-demand counseling through a telehealth line, hiring more counselors to expand Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) walk-in hour availability, the CPS experience for students from marginalized backgrounds, increase off-campus transport. care, and work with peer academic advisors (PAAs) to improve academic support. The timelines for these proposals vary, with some set to be implemented as early as next semester, while others could take a year to reach.

We cannot afford to let these goals fall by the wayside. Given that the timeline for implementation varies so much, how are we as students supposed to gauge and evaluate the University’s progress? How will we ensure that these changes are really effective?

To ensure that these proposals become successful policies, there must be consistent transparency and dialogue from the University throughout the implementation process. The USG report promises to provide “quarterly updates on progress toward each goal.” These updates should do more than just keep students abreast of developments. They must also provide space for them to weigh in on discussions.

It is only through the creation of consistent feedback loops that the student body will be able to identify issues and offer revisions in real time. Without increasing transparency, accountability will suffer and real, positive change cannot occur.

Promises were made. Now, all that remains is for the University to deliver.

146th Editorial

Chair

Rooya Rahin ’23

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