Mental illness is an epidemic on college campuses across the nation, and USC is no exception. With an understaffed counseling center and rising need for mental health services, the University is facing a growing crisis.
It’s not hard to explain the rise, either. Modern college students’ juggling of classes, jobs, internships and extracurriculars is increasingly weighing down students with additional stressors, exacerbating previous mental health problems and creating new ones. To make matters worse, these issues are still shrouded by a debilitating stigma.
Mental illnesses are rarely treated with the same seriousness as physical diseases. Seldom will someone with the flu be told “it’s all in your head,” and yet, for those with depression, it’s all too common. In an environment that encourages us to “Fight On” and maintain an outward appearance of success, having a mental illness can be falsly interpreted as a sign of weakness.
These misperceptions, however, allow the stigma of mental health to continue poisoning our campus.
In this special issue of the Daily Trojan, we look at fellow Trojans who have struggled with mental illness, from marginalized communities to student-athletes. We examine the progress the University has made toward mental health awareness, as well as spotlight the work that still needs to be done. But most importantly, we hope we can empower the reader to help break down the stigma of mental health at USC, and make sure all of its members are equally cared for in this Trojan Family.