The intersection of money and mental health

Anna Malesiewski, Features Editor

Money. We need it for just about everything.

Society is structured around the making and spending of money.

Businesses and institutions work to bring in more and more revenue. We go to school to be trained in a skill that allows us to make money. We spend at least one third of our days at work, earning money.

Money and resources seem to make the world go round. So, when we say things are important to us, it makes sense to back that sentiment up with money.

We spend money on gifts for those we love. We are willing to spend those extra few dollars on a food item at the grocery store to make sure our food is fair trade or sustainable if that’s important to us. Families spend thousands of dollars to send their children to private schools that support the principles that are important to them.

If you want to see what is important to someone, take a look at what they spend their money on.

Mental health has been at the forefront of conversation at Gannon for months now. We’ve done a great job of talking about it. We’ve done a great job of engaging in conversation to reduce the stigma.

But it’s time to stop talking and start taking concrete actions that produce tangible results.

The way to do this is through money. Through the proper, responsible and equitable allocation of resources into beneficial programs and services.

As a community, we needed to start talking before we could start taking action. Starting conversation is the first phase.

Now, we are ready to take action based on that conversation.

We’ve done a lot of great things already as a Gannon community in response to mental health. Examples include the hiring of a new counselor, the development of the mental well-being framework and the formation of the mental well-being initiative.

But most importantly, we began having a conversation.

I am calling for us, as a Gannon community, to move into the next phase of our support for mental health.

And this phase requires us to put even more of our money where our mouths are.

I would love to, one day, see a dedicated, collaborative mental health space on campus (aside from the Counseling Center). This could house spaces for students to engage in self-care, to support each other, to create mental health-related art projects, to implement student training, and it could be an opportunity for students to find like-minded individuals. When it comes to mental health, this is difficult.

This is something that students and groups, such as Active Minds, have expressed a desire for, but the funding is not there yet.

I would love to see money be given for students to be trained in facilitating peer support. Peer support is the process by which those who have achieved significant recovery can use their experiences to help others achieve recovery. It can be very beneficial for those with mental health concerns, as it offers encouragement and assistance aimed at recovery without the pressures or fear that can come with a crisis responder or clinical setting.

Peer support tends to improve people’s well-being, decrease hospital stays, increase support networks, and enhance self-esteem, confidence and social skills. This might also lighten the load of the Counseling Center.

I would also love to see our crisis response program be analyzed and enhanced.

These are not small tasks. But at Gannon, we do not do small things.

At Gannon, we transform. We chase big dreams. We accomplish big goals.

This is no exception.

Let’s use the culture of connection and resilience that we encourage at Gannon to accomplish goals that will allow for a healthy and equitable community and student experience.

Let’s put more of our money where our mouths are.


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