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Moving Forward with Mental Health at Merrimack

Megan Snow ‘20

Editor in Chief

Mental health has become a huge topic of conversation within the past decade. More and more people have been willing to talk about their experiences and open up with peers about mental illnesses and how it’s affected their well-being. As college students, mental health is a sensitive topic to approach. Many students are anxious and stressed out with classes or responsibilities, but are unsure of how to handle their emotions, or assume it’s just a part of the college experience. Merrimack has committed to moving forward with the conversation and emphasize the importance of offering mental health services on campus.

Merrimack has initiated a Presidential Committee on campus, which consists of 25 different faculty, staff, and administrators that are working to continue offering services for students that are needed on campus. 

“We’re excited about moving forward with this,” says Dean of Students Allison Gill, “it gives us an opportunity to look at different ways of doing things.” 

This new committee at Merrimack is still at an administrative level of operation, but it plans on moving forward and asking for student feedback on what services students think are needed on campus. Since there are so many students on campus, mental health needs are diverse.

 “We’re trying to get better at understanding the spectrum of care and where students fall on that spectrum,” says Gill. Some students may need a counseling appointment, and others might just need a conversation with someone from the Office of Wellness Education. 

Although the new Presidential Committee is planning on expanding services for the future, there are still several services that Merrimack offers for mental well-being. Hamel Health has a staff of counselors within their building that provide counseling sessions for no cost to students. The Office of Wellness Education has a staff of Wellness Peer Educators who can have conversations with students if needed. Residence Life staff are trained to have conversations with students if the need arises. 

Between exams, pressing deadlines, responsibilities, and social pressure, college can challenge the mental health of students and intrude on their college experiences. Merrimack is moving forward and continuing to provide services to students that need them.