More than 40 students gathered in the Ohio Union late Thursday evening to discuss mental health on campus. The meeting stemmed from recent tragedies that occurred involving the parking garage next door, events that showed many people a need for better mental health services and resources on Ohio State’s campus.
The meeting began with a moment of silence to remember those who died.
While the somber events of the previous week wore heavy on the group, they also served to embolden students to speak up about specific issues regarding comprehensive mental health care on Ohio State’s campus. The students came ready with plans to call the administration and demand change.
The group began organizing Saturday, when Ryan Meadows, a fourth-year in mathematics, wrote on Reddit that he was frustrated with the way Ohio State has failed to provide adequate mental health services.
“What happened to college students protesting? This is something we should have the power to do something about. Who’s with me on this?” the post read.
It turns out more than 400 people were with Meadows — showing their support by joining a GroupMe messaging app group called “Buckeyes for Mental Health.”
“We all were impacted by what happened last weekend and so people came together through social media and coalition work,” said Carrie Stratton, a member of the group and a fourth-year in women’s gender and sexuality studies and public affairs.
Now moving beyond social media platforms, this inaugural meeting organized an action plan for future work.
At the meeting, a list of 10 demands were proposed for discussion, including minimizing wait times for counseling appointments, providing specific resources for marginalized populations and having at least one counselor at each residence hall.
After proposals were offered, there was a time for attendees to share ideas and resources to help the group accomplish its goal. Students shared stories of their own frustrations in dealing with mental health issues and not receiving proper care from the university. Many flaws were pointed out such as a lack of understanding about marginalized groups and insufficient funding to mental health resources on campus.
People have noticed these issues for years and numerous groups and efforts have formed to make a change, but Meadows hopes that this movement is different.
One of its next steps is to make recommendations to the university task force on mental health, an initiative University President Michael Drake announced the creation of on Monday.
“We are going to make recommendations to the task force and we are going to keep a pulse on them throughout the summer and if they do not meet our recommendations adequately we will show up in a much bigger way in the fall,” Meadows said.
While students and administration work to improve Ohio State’s current system for mental health care, there are still effective options for anyone who needs to talk or receive.