On Monday, Today published the results of a six-month investigation into university campus mental health care, revealing that students are getting kicked out of college for seeking help. Ronan Farrow interviewed 22 college students across the country and found that many students who seek mental health care are treated like potential public relations problems, to be removed as quickly as possible.
We hear from Jasmine, who struggled with depression at the University of Chicago. She went to the student counseling center to ask for help (she makes it clear she was not suicidal). They made her get in an ambulance, says Jasmine, “which was really embarrassing.” She was kept in a psychiatric ward for two weeks. She then met with school officials who informed her she had to move her stuff out of her dorm “within 48 hours,” and that she was no longer a student there.
“Did you feel it was voluntary?” asks Farrow. “No,” says Jasmine emphatically. “No.”
There’s also Rachel, who sought help for “depression and cutting” while at Yale. The school put her in a psych ward, and while she was institutionalized, she received a letter stating she “was no longer enrolled.” Rachel reapplied to Yale and got back in, and now she, along with other student activists, are calling for a “more humane approach.”
Are forced mental leaves ethical? Are they even effective? Why are colleges so quick to kick out students who seek mental health care?
Victor Schwartz, the former director of NYU’s counseling services, puts it bluntly: “Suicide is a bad PR problem for the school.”
One commenter tweeted the observation that only women appeared in the video. They asked if schools are employing these tactics in part to “quiet [victims] struggling w MH post-rape”?
Farrow responded: “We spoke with some men, but yes many women. And yes, many say their mental health issues are related to sexual assault.”
Both Yale and the University of Chicago declined Farrow’s requests for interviews.
Watch the video below to learn more.