The Rochester Institute of Technology announced a new task force to focus on the mental health of its students Wednesday. The announcement comes on the heels of a student petition and an October death on campus.
The university said the task force will review programs connected to student mental health and make recommendations for how to improve them.
Mental health has been a pressing issue on campus, with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigating an October campus death as a suicide and a student petition for more therapists and counselors gaining over 3,000 signatures in the subsequent weeks. Last month, the university said it would start the process of making those hires, focusing on candidates with “diverse backgrounds to better assist our underrepresented populations.”
RIT also said it would aim to limit wait times for appointments with counselors to 10 business days.
The task force’s creation also comes amid a growing national and international understanding of the mental health difficulties faced by college students. In September, the American Psychiatric Association found that one in three first-year college students worldwide reported symptoms consistent with a mental health disorder. And the Journal of Medical Internet Research said colleges needed to be more proactive with getting mental health care to students.
RIT spokesperson Ellen Rosen said the university has started interviewing for the task force positions and will announce its members by the end of the fall semester. RIT named the co-chairs Wednesday as Dr. Jodi Boita, the university’s executive director of assessment, technology and communications, and Dr. Andrew Herbert, an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts.