Cornell Graduate Students Say Their University Has A Mental Health Crisis

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About one hundred Cornell graduate students gathered outside the Cornell Health Center on campus Wednesday afternoon. They were calling for an external review of the mental health services at the University.

Celia Clarke/WSKG

Flyer in elevator of Cornell Health with schedule of end of semester workshops sponsored by the Counseling and Psychiatric Services of Cornell Health.

Students shared their own mental health struggles. They described not being taken seriously by faculty and having to go off campus to find therapists. They say getting appointments is difficult unless they are in crisis, suicidal or in academic trouble.

Three years ago, Thea Kozakis, a Ph.D. student in Astrophysics had a mental and physical health crisis that caused her to take medical leave.

“My battle with mental health was really hard,” said Kozakis, “and really long. And I really didn’t think I was gonna get through it alive. And today, I’m really happy to say that, I’m really happy, and I’m doing so much better. But, I know a lot of you are still going through that battle right now. And the least we can do is support them. And the least the University can do is make it so they can get basic mental health care.”

After several speakers, the group walked to the President’s office and delivered a petition with over 800 student signatures. They were told that University President Martha Pollack was not in the country. They said they want a meeting with Pollack by February 1, 2019.