Credit: Rain Mazumder | Mustang News

Elijah Winn is an environmental earth and soil science sophomore. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News. 

America today is plagued with a mental health crisis. People of all ages and groups are being affected by this crisis as two out of five adults detail experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety. To this end, treatment and support for these issues are becoming a necessity, especially in American Universities. 

Cal Poly’s Health and Wellbeing mission statement declares that they are “…responsive to the unique needs of students across identities and cultivate spaces of belonging, connection, and healing.” While commendable, this falls flat when applied and grounded in real student experience.

During a late night SloDoCo run, my close friend revealed their experience with Campus Health and Wellbeing as lackluster and concerning for the greater student body. She recounted her desire to seek out counseling services through Cal Poly as we are paying for the services and she had heard good things about on-campus resources from other schools. She had been experiencing grief and pain from familial issues that finally became too heavy a burden to bear. 

Upon receiving consultation from Campus Health and Wellbeing, she was bluntly told that if she was not experiencing chronic depression or suicidal thoughts, she would not be able to receive individualized help. While she was informed that she could try group therapy sessions she expressed her discomfort with the idea of group sessions and was still told that she would not be able to receive help anytime soon because of a lack of counselors. 

Realistically, no organization, university or business can conjure 20,000 counselors for 20,000 people. Yet, this becomes an issue when Cal Poly sells a pipedream to new students during WOW, pledging tangible and direct resources to all students for their mental health. 

This opens up a concerning discussion: Is Cal Poly just completely out of touch with their student body or are they knowingly negligent? 

While it isn’t reasonable to expect Cal Poly to be in touch with every single student they should still be aware of the general needs of the student population. Understanding that there is variation among student needs is critical for a university to truly “be there” for all students that are told as such during WOW. 

On the other side, it can be theorized that Cal Poly is simply selling a product that isn’t what it is marketed to be. Which is something far more concerning than any other option. There should be no tolerance for projecting the quality of a service as better than it actually is, especially with something as critical as counseling and mental health services. Conjecture leads me to wonder if this is because of a lack of funding and while that is something that should be discussed, it still doesn’t discredit the fact that they falsely advertise how effective Campus Health and Wellbeing truly is to prospective students, new students and returning students. 

Talking with other students has yielded experiences with Campus Health and Wellbeing that lack care and expedition. Students should expect and deserve better help with a university that pledges quality care and treatment for all students on all matters that relate to health and wellbeing.