If an Oklahoma State University student wants to access the many mental health services the university provides, they can do so almost immediately.
In response to various incorrect statements that there is a “six month waiting period” for counseling services, OSU officials told The O’Colly that students can utilize virtual walk-in appointments Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, if needed, will be assigned a therapist for ongoing therapy with a current wait time of one to two weeks. Students in crisis will be seen immediately.
During that 1-2 week waiting period, students can continue to access the walk-in hours, or get assistance through MD Live or Call SAM, both of which are 24/7 mental health services.
OSU confirmed that there’s only six students on the “waitlist,” none of whom are considered in a crisis.
Another false claim circulating is that four OSU students have committed suicide this semester. OSU officials told The O’Colly that three students committed suicide since August, with one of the three happening right before classes began. A popular social media hashtag #NoMoreThanFour garnered thousands of impressions and is being used to call for more help and transparency from the university.
In addition to multiple mental health resources, OSU has also partnered with the JED foundation, a national leader in suicide awareness and prevention. The university is in the process of becoming a JED-certified campus, which would help create campus-wide prevention and intervention strategies and would advise on best-practice mental health policies, programs and services.
OSU officials said that the school has 432 faculty, staff and students on the QPR (question, persuade, refer), a by-stander intervention training that helps people assist students in some level of mental health crises. This training is available for all faculty, staff, and students.
But some students think the university should be doing more.
“Of course mental health days would help more, there should be a page or section of COVID resources related to mental health, the school needs to establish that the discussion of mental health is good, and the way the school fails to address these issues is concerning and irresponsible,” said OSU student Taylor Gladney.
In regards to promotion and access, OSU held 22 virtual events for students that focused on an aspect of mental health and promoted mental health resources all semester on social media and via campus emails.
OSU’s Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Doug Hallenbeck acknowledged that college can be stressful at any time, especially during a pandemic, but that the university remains committed to a serious approach to mental health.
“We want OSU students to understand that they are not alone and that it is normal to struggle at some point with feelings of isolation, loneliness, heightened anxiety and uncertainty,” Hallenbeck said. “OSU takes mental health very seriously and continues to invest in both in-person and online resources to provide students support on our campus. We encourage all students to seek out these resources while also reaching out to trusted family and friends, their advisor and/or faculty members. We genuinely care about all of our students and the Cowboy family is here to help.”