USG releases statement on mental health

Undergraduate Student Government senators sponsored a statement presented at Tuesday’s meeting that outlined plans for creating more mental health initiatives. (Myra Wu | Daily Trojan)

The Undergraduate Student Government released a public statement Tuesday reaffirming its commitment to campus mental health following the deaths of two students last week. 

The statement, authored by Speaker Emily Donahue and Sen. Benjamin Shiff and sponsored by 10 USG senators, said the Senate will provide a record of mental health initiatives it’s pursuing by Oct. 15. 

“We are going to be providing a list of steps we’ve taken and initiatives, even if they’ve fallen on deaf ears with administrators,” Donahue told the Daily Trojan. “We are just trying to be more transparent as a Senate.”

The statement also emphasized a need for diverse and substantive mental health services for the USC community. 

“Students from all backgrounds and experiences deserve accessible mental health resources that accommodate their needs,” the statement said. “We vow this commitment will be met with concrete actions … Senators are committing to working on and prioritizing initiatives that address this need on our campus and in our community.”

The Senate released the statement in hopes of getting feedback from the student body on how to improve mental health resources at USC. 

 Donahue said she hopes USG initiatives will collaborate with the Engemann Student Health Center on marketing initiatives to educate students on the warning signs of suicide and the current mental health programs available to the campus community. 

Student Health has also unveiled plans to dedicate the renovated fifth floor of the health center to mental health resources. The floor is set to open in November. Donahue said she wishes to hold the health center accountable for any promises of new initiatives and make sure there are an adequate number of counselors for students.

 USG has worked on mental health initiatives in recent years, including OT 299, “THRIVE: Foundations of Well-Being,” a course piloted last year that teaches students wellness strategies, including stress management techniques and positive psychology. The course was designed in part by former USG Vice President Blake Ackerman along with other USG members and USC professors. 

Students dealing with mental health concerns can walk in to USC Student Health centers or contact the 24/7 phone line  (213) 740-9355 for professional assistance. Faculty and staff members can reach out to the Center for Work and Family Life at (213) 821-0800. Students, faculty and staff members concerned about a fellow Trojan can notify Campus Support and Intervention by calling (213) 821-4710.