Students struggling with mental health issues have been reaching out to a student-led organization in order to seek support and guidance on how to get the help they need.
The group Never Walk Alone was started in January 2018 by Ronnie Wollett, a third-year in finance, when he decided to post about his ongoing battle with his mental health on Instagram, hoping to make it a more easily addressed topic.
The club took off after a separate Instagram page was created to connect those battling with mental illness to come together and act as a support team.
Since the club’s founding, several other students, such as Allie Garvin, a second-year in neuroscience, have taken on leadership roles, openly sharing their struggles with depression, eating disorders and other mental health issues as well.
Garvin, philanthropy chair of the club, said the goal of Never Walk Alone is to be a connection and outreach group for those struggling with mental health.
“You should not have to scream to be heard,” Garvin said.
Wollett said they do not act as therapists, but work to educate students on what services are available to students on campus.
“We want to set them up with all the resources available at Ohio State to get more help because that’s the next important step to all of this,” Wollett said.
Ohio State President Michael Drake announced a mental health task force in April and released its recommendations in September. In an interview with The Lantern Thursday, Drake said the university will move forward with an “implementation force.” Part of the immediate changes on campus were the Counseling and Consultation Services employing three more counselors.
According to a review by The Lantern in April, the International Association of Counseling Services Inc., an accreditation association for college and university counseling services, recommends that campus mental health services have a ratio of one professional full-time staff member to every 1,000 to 1,500 students. By this standard, Ohio State should employ 40 to 60 full-time staff members.
According to Ohio State’s Counseling and Consultation Services website, there are currently 40 full-time staff members.
Wollett said a major problem that staff members sometimes do not realize is that students are not receiving the help they need as quickly as they should be.
“They don’t understand that when you push that one kid back, those weeks become critical,” Wollett said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates from ages 10 to 19 have increased 56 percent between 2007 and 2016.
The club continues to support and guide those struggling to deal with their mental health, as well as spread awareness, while the university continues to work to strengthen the resources
on campus. Never Walk Alone can be found on Instagram at @neverwalkalone.osu or on Twitter at @neveralone_osu.