Easy Access to Support for You (EASY), which works to provide access to mental health resources, held its first information session on Nov. 7. The 5C Mental Health Alliance (MHA) created this program to provide access to mental health resources and create a supportive environment that acknowledges student needs, experiences, and identities.
According to MHA President Amelia Feinberg-Eddy PO ’17, the information session's turnout boosted confidence in the success of the program.
“We were very excited by the number of people expressing interest in working on this program, and the excellent suggestions they had for making this program the most supportive, inclusive, and beneficial that it can be,” she wrote in an email to TSL.
According to Feinberg-Eddy, EASY was created based off of feedback about the barriers to accessing mental health care at the 5Cs. At the meeting on Nov. 7, MHA leaders said that it had been difficult in the past to establish a more informal program because of the absence of administration support.
“Students consistently find that navigating systems at the colleges, in the village, with insurance etc., is a very overwhelming, frustrating, and confusing process,” she wrote. “Particularly in times of distress, it can be hard to sort through these challenges, get the needed information, and access care.”
EASY will hold individual peer meetings and will focus not on crisis support but instead on helping students access mental health resources.
Training will begin next week, and the program should be up and running by Nov. 22. At the meeting on Nov. 7, MHA leaders said that some tasks would include setting up appointments with Monsour Psychological Services, helping with insurance policies, and sharing info about available resources.
“We want to provide information about options, as well as support at different stages throughout the process of caring for mental health needs, and work with students as supporters and advocates,” Feinberg-Eddy wrote. “We particularly want to make sure that this resource reaches students whose mental health experiences are shaped by and access to resources impeded by oppression and marginalization.”
Feinberg-Eddy hopes that EASY will provide accessible support for students who are struggling to access the care and accommodations they need.
“We hope that this can help to bridge gaps in accessing care, such as presenting alternatives for when Monsour wait times are too long, insurance and financial issues are preventing access to care, or seeking accommodations seems intimidating and difficult,” she wrote.
MHA works to destigmatize mental illness through safe discussion spaces and support. Feinberg-Eddy wrote that MHA does this by hosting events, “including panels of students, professors, and staff sharing their personal experiences with mental health, art and spoken word events, educational events, hosting guest speakers, and a number of other types of events, often in collaboration with other organizations.”