Hello everyone! It is Griffith and I am back with another blog!
If you have read my previous blogs (If not you should go to check them out), you will know that I came to Olin with a lot of personal issues to deal with as I just recently fully came to terms with my sexuality. Although I am still dealing with some of those issues, I can say that the mental health resources and culture at Olin have helped A TON.
First and foremost, Olin has great mental health resources. Most notably is Olin’s collaboration with Colony Care Behavioral Health in Wellesley. Students have access to Colony Care’s services at no cost to the students. The no cost aspect is true regardless of the student’s health insurance (whether school-provided or not) or the number of visits. It is certainly worth mentioning that Colony Care is anonymous. Olin staff do not know who is using the services, just how many people are using them.
A lot of schools brag about having free access to mental health care, but they usually limit students on the number of visits they can take during a semester/year. With mental therapy, it is not one and done; recurring visits are necessary and Olin does a good job of recognizing that.
Another thing worth noting about Colony Care is that it is VERY easy to get an appointment set up. All you have to do is call their office or send them an email with a few details of what you are looking for. I have not heard of any problems setting up an appointment within a reasonable amount of time (maximum 1-2 weeks). I find that my friends at other colleges (mostly in the Boston area) are jealous of this. One of my friends has been trying since early September to get into her school’s free mental health care program, and still has not gotten a single appointment!
What really makes the resources on campus - such as Colony Care - work is Olin’s culture towards mental health. Mental health is really prioritized on campus - both by faculty and students. All of my professors made it clear that mental health comes first, and if there are issues going on outside of the classroom that are making class work hard to do, they are more than willing to make special arrangements.
One of the long-standing issues with getting people to go to mental therapy or use other mental health resources is the stigma. At Olin, I have found this not to be an issue. It is the general attitude here at Olin that using mental health services is no different than going to a medical doctor for physical needs. You are just getting check-ups and help with your mental being instead of your physical being. Many people are very open about the fact that they are going to Colony Care, though there are also plenty who choose to remain anonymous. Many are even willing to chat about why they are going to Colony Care. Some have major issues like depression, while many are just going to help deal with minor anxiety, stress, or social issues that come with being at college.
One final thing worthy of note is that at Olin everyone is looking out for you. If you start slipping in classes, professors and other faculty will notice. I have found that they tend to approach the problem not as bashing you for not turning in your work, but instead are looking to understand what you might be dealing with that is preventing you from engaging fully with your school work. Everyone is super understanding and supportive, and wants what is best for you.
Overall, I have been very impressed by the mental health resources and culture at Olin. Mental health is an important part of education and I hope that other schools look to Olin on how to improve their mental health support on campus.