SCAD Student Reaction to the Mental Health Petition

SCAD Student Reaction to the Mental Health Petition

My daughter, Gabi, is a 3rd-year animation major at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia. SCAD (The Savannah College of Art and Design), is a private, nonprofit, accredited university with locations in Savannah, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia; Hong Kong; and Lacoste, France. She called me this week twice. Both times to share news of a SCAD art student taking their life. I asked her how she felt about this and if she was ok. Did she need to talk about it? She decided to write a blog post for me to share with my readers as a SCAD Student Reaction to the Mental Health Petition. 

SCAD Mental Health Petition
SCAD Mental Health Petition

SCAD Student Reaction to the Mental Health Petition

While pulling an all-nighter,  I received a message from a friend who attends Art Center in California. He had attached a link to a petition about SCAD mental health resources with a simple message. “Wtf, is this real?” I clicked on the link to see a petition on students mental health that addressed two suicides this week, 3 deaths this quarter alone. Keep in mind that school started September 10th, so the quarter hasn’t been that long. I responded saying “Yes, there were two suicides this week. Girls get sexually assaulted often in Savannah.” As I sent my response, I realized that this was the first I had heard of the petition and it was coming from someone on the other side of the country.

The stress.

We talked about the workload that art schools put on us. Unlike colleges and universities that have tests, papers, and practicals, at SCAD we are given projects that are sometimes due in just 24 hours. This is after a 2 and a half hour long class, and usually, we have another 2 and a half hour class the same day. Not only that, that but financially SCAD can be challenging, just like living in Savannah. Most students also have serving or retail jobs downtown to pay their bills while studying. This isn’t only a problem at SCAD but in general when it comes to college students. This comes up when we are given already unrealistic deadlines and a ridiculous workload. We also have a strict attendance policy looming over us and parents who don’t understand that sometimes our mindset should be put above our grades. I actually called my friend Stephanie and told her I needed to escape Savannah and my workload because my head wasn’t in a good place. People love to talk about mental health awareness, but never really act on it.

The Students

I then told him how the wait to see someone is unnerving. You have a problem now, but you have to wait 2-3 weeks on average but sometimes even a month to speak to someone. I remember going in and telling them I needed to see someone about a referral for my ADD medicine and being told the only availability was 2 weeks out and a day I was working. This made me think about the other kids at the school who go because they feel depressed, alone, and even suicidal. Imagine needing to talk to someone and being told: “We can see you in a month.” That’s bullshit. As I read the petition, I found myself angry and upset that the school doesn’t have better counseling services. We shouldn’t have to wait until someone to commit suicide before something is done about the matter. I highly recommend reading the comments under the petition to get a glimpse at how students and alumni feel about these issues and what they have gone through in the past.

At SCAD and need support? 

Photo by christopher lemercier on Unsplash

Contact Counseling and Support Services

Counseling services

Students may encounter challenging life experiences that interfere with the pursuit of their academic goals and/or personal growth. Counselors are available to assist students with short-term individual counseling, organize support groups, make community referrals, plan educational workshops and provide self-help resources. Assistance is offered for a wide range of concerns, and services are included in tuition. Confidentiality is guaranteed within legal and ethical guidelines. Call 912.525.6971 to make an appointment.

Follow Gabriela on Instagram.

Choosing happiness (and 1/2 lb cookies)?

A post shared by Gabriela Salinas (@gabriela.salinass) on

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