Yale University has been accused of not doing enough to support the mental health of its students after a woman who attempted suicide spoke out about the trauma inflicted on her by university rules.
The sophomore, known only as S., told The Washington Post that she was struggling while at Yale to come to terms with the rape, at home over summer break in early 2021.
In June 2021, he overdosed on pills and remembers coming in and thinking, ‘What if Yale finds out?’
Yale’s policies mean students deemed suicidal are barred from campus and must be cared for at home, the newspaper reported.
To return to classes, they must reapply: write an essay and submit letters of recommendation.
Until April of this year, they also had to be interviewed by Yale officials and prove their academic worth by taking two courses at another four-year university.
Those who left for mental health reasons also had to prove to Yale that they had addressed their issues, the newspaper reported. Yale denied that students were pressured to leave, saying the students themselves “almost always” make the decision.
“Students occasionally take time off from the daily pressures associated with an academic environment and devote their full attention and as much time as necessary to recovery,” said Karen Peart, a university spokeswoman.
She told DailyMail.com: ‘The students themselves are almost always the ones making that decision; it is rare that students are required to take time off.
‘In these cases, Yale has policies that facilitate a medical retirement followed by a return to campus life.
‘Medical retreats allow students to take time away from Yale to focus on their well-being. The vast majority of students who take medical leave are reinstated and return to successfully complete their studies.’
Yale has reported an “explosion” in demand for mental health support, with a 90% increase in the number of students seeking treatment in 2021 from 2015. On Friday, The Washington Post spoke with dozens of students who said that not enough was being done, despite the university’s $41 billion endowment
Luchang Wang, a 20-year-old math student, killed herself in 2015 and said she was terrified she would be forced to drop out of Yale.
S.’s suicide attempt followed two other high-profile cases at the Connecticut institution.
In 2015, a 20-year-old math student, Luchang Wang, jumped to her death from the Golden Gate Bridge, leaving a note saying she was terrified of not being readmitted to Yale.
‘Dear Yale, I loved being here. I wish I could have had some time,” she wrote.
‘I needed time to figure things out and wait for the new meds to kick in, but I couldn’t do it at school, and I couldn’t bear the thought of having to leave for a whole year, or leaving and never again. being readmitted. Love, Fight.
In March 2021, a second student, Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum, killed herself on campus after contemplating the consequences of withdrawing from the school, her family said.
She was a freshman in college and, battling isolation amid the pandemic, had been admitted to hospital with mental health issues, but was haunted by the thought of being forced to withdraw and lose her place.
“I have attempted suicide 3 times in the last 3 days and haven’t stopped thinking about it,” he wrote on Reddit on March 16, 2021.
‘What should I do? If I go to the hospital again this year, I will be academically withdrawn from my university…’
Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum, 20, from Anchorage, Alaska, took her own life on campus in March 2021
Twenty-five students interviewed by The Washington Post said the university, with its $41.4 billion endowment, had a lot of money but was not spending it on necessary mental health resources.
Some said they sought help from Yale advisers but never heard back. Others said appointments were so rare that they had to wait weeks for a 30-minute session.
“It actually made things worse,” said Shayna Sragovicz, 22, a senior.
‘Because you’re opening up a can of worms in people’s psyches and then not giving them room to work through them.’
Others said they had come to the conclusion that it was better to keep their mental health problems and suicidal thoughts secret, to avoid triggering abstinence policies.
“It’s the exact opposite of what you’d like to see happen,” said Miriam Kopyto, 22, a senior and leader of the Yale Student Mental Health Association.
Pam Shaw, the mother of Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum, at a vigil for her daughter on April 3, 2021.
Paul Hoffman, the psychologist in charge of student mental health at Yale, noted that the university has faced an “explosion” in demand for mental health resources.
The number of students seeking treatment in 2021 had increased by 90 per cent since 2015, with 5,000 wanting to access support.
“It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before,” he said.
The Ivy League university’s reputation also demands excellence from its students: 34 percent of Yale’s 14,500 students seek mental health help from college counselors, compared with a national average of 11 percent at other universities, it reported. The Washington Post.
All Ivy League schools except Yale and Brown have joined a four-year program launched by the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit group that works on suicide prevention and mental health support for youths.
The program is designed to improve your mental health policies.
More than 400 universities have signed up for the Jed program, said Nance Roy, the foundation’s clinical director.
“I’m not sure why Yale didn’t join in,” said Roy, who also works as an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale.
Paul Hoffman, the psychologist in charge of student mental health at Yale, said more resources were being directed at mental health.
“I have had conversations with them, and even met with the president and others at one point about it.
I don’t think they are ignoring the problem. But they are doing their thing.
In a written statement, Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said, “The university conducts frequent reviews of all of its policies in an effort to better serve our students.”
Yale says it has hired six more counselors and more than 50 now work with its students.
The university now allows students to join group therapy sessions in addition to individual counselling.
Hoffman said most students can now get therapy appointments within two weeks, and Yale plans to increase its mental health resources.
“Yale has made a very significant commitment to mental health resources,” he said. However, S. said the experience only served to add to her trauma.
‘I feel so much pressure right now. As if I couldn’t slip up,’ she said. ‘As if it would have to be extraordinary for Yale to remember why they let me in in the first place.’
In July, she learned that she had been accepted once again and could return to college. But she remained angry at his treatment of her.
“They never asked what they could do to help with sexual assault and post-traumatic stress disorder. Not a single question about how Yale can help you. They didn’t take into account who I was and what I needed,’ she said.
‘His only concern was that I leave.’
Yale told DailyMail.com that The Washington Post story was misleading.
“Recent statements in the Washington Post do not accurately reflect Yale’s commitment to the safety and well-being of our students and community,” Peart said.
“The health and safety of Yale students and community members is the university’s top priority.”