Necessary progress

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January 25, 2016

10:32 PM

The College of William and Mary has recently hired a full-time psychiatrist to serve as part of the team at the school’s Counseling Center. Dr. Patricia Roy is an experienced physician with residency and work experience at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Virginia Hospital Center, where she served as the director of the Behavioral Health Department.

The hiring of Dr. Roy is an important step toward the advancement of mental health services at the College. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Roy can prescribe medication to her patients and offer significant experience and the potential for new perspective on how to continue improving assistance for students seeking help from the Counseling Center.

The more available and comprehensive information is about the resources available at the Counseling Center (such as the full-time psychiatrist), the more likely students will be to utilize them.

It is important to not let this significant achievement remove focus from the issue of improving mental health services on campus. It was in part thanks to the collective voice of the students online and on the ground — through efforts such as the sit-in protest held at the Sir Christopher Wren Building last semester — that thrust the issue of mental health into the spotlight. While concerns have been addressed in regards to the need for a full-time psychiatrist, there is still room for improvement.

Transparency between the Counseling Center and students is crucial to building trust and encouraging students in need of help to seek it. The more available and comprehensive information is about the resources available at the Counseling Center (such as the full-time psychiatrist), the more likely students will be to utilize them. How the Counseling Center functions, who can talk to students, and information about how confidentiality works are all valuable bits of information for the student body.

An example of a good way to start improving upon transparency issues can be found in the recent posting of informational fliers on sexual assault resources around campus.

Instead of going to the Counseling Center with no idea how their situation will be addressed, students will be able to evaluate their options and seek help in an informed manner. Asking for help with mental health issues through the school won’t be a process shrouded in mystery — it will be a process most students are aware of.

An example of a good way to start improving upon transparency issues can be found in the recent posting of informational fliers on sexual assault resources around campus. These fliers, found in bathroom stalls and academic buildings, provide multiple resources for those who have been sexually assaulted. They list the phone numbers and locations of the available outlets for confidential discussions, as well as providing numbers for students who want to report an incident. Each flier ends by assuring the reader that assault is never the fault of the victim.

The hiring of a full-time psychiatrist, along with the Integrative Wellness Center, is a major step forward.

This kind of transparency with regards to the Counseling Center (and its new psychiatrist) can only serve to increase the trust between students and the College. The hiring of a full-time psychiatrist, along with the Integrative Wellness Center, is a major step forward. Students should be made aware of the resources available to them.

It is our hope that the hiring of Dr. Roy can fulfill these important goals, and more importantly, serve to advance and accelerate the collective mind of our student body.

Áine Cain recused herself from this staff editorial.

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