Update

As UMN faces an increase in students struggling with mental health, MSA proposes to add mental health phone numbers on the back of U Cards.

The Minnesota Student Association (MSA) Health & Wellness Task Force at the University of Minnesota is pushing for the U Card office to add mental health crisis phone numbers on the back of U Cards.

The approval for the mental health crisis phone numbers on U Cards would be a step forward to provide an immediate resource that will affect students on campus.

Amanda Ichel, head of the MSA Health & Wellness Task Force, said this has been a goal for MSA since the beginning of last semester, and they are currently working to have it passed through administration.

“The communications team made some drafts of design ideas that we could show administration and the U Card office, so we do have a few options,” Ichel said.

Nicole Schaumann, a member of the MSA Health & Wellness Task Force who helped on this project, said she is hopeful that progress is being made.

“We’re only students, so we can’t do much, but we are doing all that we can to help people who are in need of mental health resources,” Schaumann said.

The next step is to set up a meeting with administration, which, according to Ichel, will be coming up within the next week or two.

An MSA resolution written by Ichel in 2021 reported that over 65% of University students were experiencing mental health issues.

“I’m a big advocate for mental health,” Ichel said. “Students should feel safe on campus and feel like they have mental health resources.”

According to Ichel, the U Cards with mental health phone numbers would be given to incoming freshmen, transfer students and those who lose their current U Cards and need to replace them.

“It would not require a reprint of U Cards, since that would be costly for the University,” Ichel said.

As for the phone numbers that would be on the U Cards, the MSA Health & Wellness Task Force decided to include the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the Aurora Center hotline and the Minneapolis local hotline.

In addition, the back of U Cards would include a texting option for students, so they can reach mental health resources by texting “UMN” to 61222.

“Students often don’t know about the resources that exist,” Ichel said. “If you are in a desperate mindset, it is right there in your pocket.”

In the past year, over 12% of students at the University of Minnesota have been diagnosed with depression, according to a report by Boynton Health.

“Crises can happen very fast, and this is a way for students to prevent something very bad from happening,” Schaumann said. “We want to help students and make their lives a little bit better.”

Nick Mabee, Director of Communications and Marketing for the U Card Office, said the U Card office is in support of having the mental health phone numbers added onto U Cards and will work alongside MSA to implement this new change.

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