To be completely candid, I would like to begin this piece with a disclaimer. I have had some serious mental health issues and have a significant amount of experience with Boe House and the mental health services at St. Olaf College. It is possible that due to my negative dealings I have become jaded towards the services. Please do not take my words as a blanket statement. I am writing only about my personal experiences.
Here at St. Olaf, if you’re feeling those mid-semester blues or are stressed about an upcoming test, Boe House is an excellent resource. If you are suffering from anything more serious than that, however, you might as well cease trying.
The mental health system at St. Olaf is not equipped to handle cases of serious anxiety, depression or personality disorders. Therapy appointments are available only once every two weeks. Psychiatry appointments are worse, with the psychiatrist is only available approximately once a month. These wait times can be devastating – even fatal – for students suffering from serious mental afflictions.
I talked to an anonymous individual regarding their opinion of Boe House after they were admitted to the hospital following a suicide scare. This individual went to Boe House for follow-up appointments, as they said on the phone that they could provide that. It took a month for Boe House to see this individual, at which point the latter was once again suicidal and depressed, all because they did not have the proper therapeutic care.
This problem is not the fault of the people who work at Boe House. They are well meaning individuals who really care about the mental health of their students. It is the fault of the administration for horribly underfunding mental health services at this college.
Artificial limits of only one visit every two weeks are imposed as a necessity only because there is not enough funding to hire a proper number of therapists and pay them for a proper number of hours. Mental health at St. Olaf has been horribly underfunded and mismanaged for too long.
This level of negligence from the administration is no longer acceptable. We are literally talking about life-threatening situations here. Apparently, we have enough money to pay for a new hockey arena, but not enough to provide students with the help they need. It is truly disgraceful and needs to be fixed.
Zeke Warren-Weigmann ’21 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from New York, N.Y. He majors in history.