The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s University Health Service (UHS) held its latest Mental Health Resource Fair on Tuesday to raise awareness for health and wellbeing services on campus.
The event, housed in Memorial Union’s Tripp Commons, was presented by UHS’s Mental Health Services Student Advisory Board. More than a dozen groups attended, including Badger Recovery, Wisconsin Wellness and PAVE.
Katarina Schneider, SAB co-chair and member of National Alliance on Mental Illness-UW, told The Daily Cardinal SAB organized the fair to highlight the variety of campus mental health services.
“There are so many different groups on campus that want to be there to support people with their mental health struggles,” Schneider said.
Representatives from the organizations shared information with attendees about services and programs that promote students’ mental health and wellness on campus.
Mental health is an especially pertinent issue on college campuses. A UHS study conducted in 2022 found more than 40% of students experience mental health concerns.
UHS offers a variety of mental health services, including counseling and therapy, though it continues to face criticism over limited sessions, understaffing and long wait times. Many students have reported waiting over a month to receive mental health treatments.
Schneider said UHS was important, though she added other groups on campus provide mental health services.
“You don’t just have UHS,” Schneider said, adding it was important to spotlight groups specifically geared towards mental health. “[We’re] hoping that more students can get more access.”
Additionally, Schneider said some non-student organizations at the event receive less awareness. She cited the Counseling Psychology Training Center, a training clinic in the UW-Madison Department of Counseling Psychology.
Jyotsna Dhar, a first-year PhD student, said the training clinic offers free therapy services to students and community members while teaching doctoral students.
During the fair, Dhar said she was approached by a UW alumni curious of the differences between mental health offerings today compared to the 1970s, when he was a student. Dhar said she came away “pleasantly surprised” to a growing conversation on mental health services.
“It was great to hear,” Dhar said.
Tuesday’s event follows UHS mental health fairs held in April and October last year. Schneider said the spring event was moved to February this year so students had more opportunities to join the clubs they learned about and utilize resources throughout the semester rather than at the end.
Schneider was optimistic the fair would become an annual tradition.
Gavin Escott is a senior staff writer and photographer for multiple desks at The Daily Cardinal. Throughout his time at the Cardinal, he's written articles for city, state, campus and breaking news. He is the current host/producer of the Cardinal Call podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @gav_escott.