With the recent announcement of plans to hire a part-time psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner and equine therapist, Truman State University is undoubtedly taking steps to address the mental health of students, staff and faculty on campus. Additionally, Truman has enlisted the help of JED Campus to better understand the problem of the “typical Truman student” and how to change the negative mental health culture currently associated with the University. While the effort to address the problem is commendable, it raises numerous questions about effective, responsible and timely solutions.
We, The Index Editorial Board, still have a lot of questions about how Truman is looking to answer the calls for action on mental health. It is not entirely clear how or why some decisions are made. These questions are particularly relevant as we ask why the psychiatric nurse practitioner and psychologist will not be full-time staff members, why an equine therapist was chosen as one of the new hires, and how these new positions will effectively provide the action needed to address the mental health crisis on campus. We also expect the University to promote these additions in a substantial and thoughtful way throughout campus. The stated reason for the part-time positions is a lack for resources, but was that not the reason for increasing the student health fee last semester? Students and stakeholders should be asking what the best course of action is for addressing mental health, and it is the responsibility of the University to disclose information about future plans, how and why decisions are made, and how it is supposed to improve the Truman community.