The recommended ratio of students to psychiatrist is 1 per 1,500. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, that ratio is 1 to every 3,000 students. This is the lowest staffed student ratio across the UW System, according to senior psychologist at the Norris Health Center on campus, Paul DuPont.
With such high numbers of students and shortage in staff, the average wait for an appointment at the University’s Health Center Norris is about three weeks, DuPont explained.
Around this time of year, college students’ national rates regarding mental health issues, including suicide, are much higher than usual, DuPont said in the presentation he gave to the UWM Student Association.
As a means of helping the problem, Dupont introduced new programs that have been formed. One of the newest programs is called SOS. There is also another new program by the name of Let’s Talk that the university is beginning to showcase to students.
Mental illness has been the result of many college campus shootings nationwide. At the same SA Senate meeting on a recent Sunday, the highly controversial topic of Conceal and Carry was also debated.
In that debate, the Student Association ultimately voted to oppose the legislative bill that would stop campus authorities from banning concealed weapon holders from carrying guns in campus buildings. There were four students on the association committee who opposed conceal and carry in campus buildings, and two who were in favor. The conclusion: “We as a University here at UWM are against making it legal to carry weapons on campus,” says Biltu Hamda, an at-large senator of the Student Association.
The head of the Committee was Student President Mike Sportiello and Vice President Brandi Hernandez.
The new programs focused on mental health and suicide were introduced to the public. The first program titled Let’s Talks, is an outreach program. This program allows for the counselors to leave their offices and meet students in other locations such as the library or even in the café. The goal of this is to give the meeting an informal feel and allow the students and counselors to feel more comfortable with each other.
The second program introduced was called SOS. SOS is a program that was designed to deal with students with suicide problems. What’s unique about this programs is that it is not only for students suffering; it is for everyone. It teaches students how to recognize signs of possible suicidal students and students suffering from mental illness. Also shared during the meeting was UWM’s very own website for those who want to reach out: http://www4.uwm.edu/mentalhealth/resources.cfm.
This time of the year during the school semester is the most stressful for students. With the number of college students dealing mental issues rising annually rapidly, having the appropriate amount of various resources will only serve as beneficial for the future of University Wisconsin Milwaukee DuPont explains.
Arguments about guns
The topics of college shootings were the main argument for veterans who showed up to argue in support of campus carry. They believed that with the incorporation of guns, the chances of school shootings from mentally ill students could be limited, or even potentially stopped. Students opposed to conceal and carry felt that access to guns would make these situations worst, and even cause other violent scenarios.
“While I love being a part of the UWM community, I will leave this school once and for all if conceal and carry is allowed. I will not feel safe,” says Junior Alex Gill.
“Having conceal and carry can reduce the chances of something like what happened in Oregon, it’s going to happen here sooner or later,” says Veteran Kyle Beasley.
“We came to a conclusion that we will send the piece of legislation that two of the members created to Madison informing them that we as a University, here at UWM are against making it legal to carry weapons on campus,” says Hamda.