Harry Edwards, UNC student government chief of staff, said he does not think mental health has been taken seriously enough by administrators yet.
“I think mental health, which affects an estimate of 25 percent of our students, has not been taken seriously enough,” he said.
In response to issues like funding and space, Edwards said student government and CAPS plan on assembling a working group to alter the way mental health is dealt with at UNC.
“I think the working group will do a lot of research, find a lot of areas that could be improved, have a lot of recommendations for how we could improve them and find the things that need to be changed policy-wise and funding-wise,” he said.
Edwards said he also wants the group to look into prevention, like changing academic policies to reduce stress and supporting student groups that reduce stigma — including incorporating trainings, such as Rethink: Psychiatric Illness, One Act and HAVEN, into the first-year academic experience.
O’Barr said CAPS is also looking at solutions such as charging insurance after a certain number of sessions or the potential of therapy through technology rather than in person, but both of those options still deal with issues of funding and space.
Junior clinical lab science student Jack Agres said for him, CAPS was a great way to start dealing with issues but didn’t resolve them.
“It needs to be more open to helping cope with the stresses of campus life,” he said. “They focus too much on the quick fix and getting you in and out. I never felt like I was truly comfortable because I always felt like each time I went, I was closing in on the number of sessions you have with them.”
Agres said it is understandable CAPS isn’t capable of handling all of the traffic they get, but he wished he’d gotten more help with finding an off-campus therapist.