Earlier this summer, I wrote to first-year students and their families to prompt conversations between them with the goal of making the transition to college easier. In that spirit, I want to open a conversation with all students and families about student wellbeing, and particularly about mental health. Although it has become more widely accepted to speak openly about mental health, I recognize that there are still cultural and social barriers to doing so. I want to establish this as an ongoing dialogue and a subject that is front and center for all.
At Tufts, we are focused on ensuring that our students receive the care and support they need to thrive. We are well aware of the current mental health environment for everyone, and especially for young adults.
College life brings excitement, anticipation, and often anxiety. This is normal, and part of what everyone, including returning students, experiences at the beginning of the academic year.
Students have their own unique personal histories, including mental health conditions, that they need to learn to manage independently, first at college or afterwards as adults in the world.
For students new to Tufts, if you are currently in therapy, talk to your provider now about how you might continue your care with them, or how to find a treatment option local to Tufts in Somerville, Medford, Cambridge, or Boston. Continuity of your therapy, including medication, is important during your transition to college.
On campus, students have access to the Counseling and Mental Health Service (CMHS). Like clinics in the majority of higher education institutions, CMHS offers brief counseling and community referral, and appointments are readily available. Students are strongly encouraged to explore the CMHS website to learn more about our services, and to reach out and engage with our confidential services. We also are available 24/7 to support any student experiencing a crisis. We want our students to be aware of these resources and to take advantage of them.
Our Counseling and Mental Health Service, like our Health Service, provides excellent care for students, but they cannot cover every need. Many mental health conditions only begin to manifest themselves during the college years, and many conditions require support beyond what a college-based clinic can provide. In these cases, we work with students and their families to find appropriate care.
I hope this message will be reassuring and helpful and that it might prompt conversations about how students will approach or will continue to manage their wellbeing. We work hard to support students and to promote good mental health. We are well-equipped to work with students, their caregivers, friends, and families to make sure they get the full guidance, support, and resources they need.
I look forward to welcoming you to campus, and in the meantime, enjoy these last few weeks of summer!
With my best wishes,
Camille Lizarríbar, JD, PhD
Dean of Students for AS&E