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Students make their way through the Alkek breezeway, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, on Texas State’s San Marcos campus.

Texas State's Student Government introduced a resolution during its regular Oct. 12 meeting to repurpose the university's contact tracing program to assist with student mental health outreach.

The resolution, authored by senate leader Quintin Lorenz, says the university should “repurpose” Bobcat Trace to accommodate mental health surveys that ask students about issues like substance abuse, anxiety and depression.

It says the online survey should be sent to all students on a bimonthly basis, allowing the Counseling Center to gather the data and target outreach to individuals who seem like they may need the help.

“Currently the university does not offer an email-based way to outreach to students,” Lorenz writes. “This lack of outreach may make students feel not invited by the university to seek aid for their mental health needs.”

Lorenz cites an article titled “Striving to Help College Students With Mental Health Issues,” published in the National Library of Medicine by Linda J. Cook, in support of his resolution. He says students either feel pressured to reach out for help or are simply uninformed about how to best get the help they need.

“Ms. Cook goes on to discuss that students who go so long without mental health aid begin to contemplate suicide, and begin to partake in risky activities such as alcohol abuse, and drug abuse,” he writes.

The resolution would work to mitigate the lack of outreach from the university and encourage students to privately report symptoms of declining mental health.

If passed, the resolution would move to the Student Government president to be approved, and to Dr. Richard A. Martinez, a licensed phycologist and coordinator of educational programming and outreach at the Counseling Center, for further action.

The senate is set to vote on the resolution at its next meeting Oct. 19. Those interested in attending can visit the student government website for the zoom link.

For access to mental health resources, visit the Counseling Center website.

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