Student Body President Smith Meyers said he will implement a new mental health advocacy task force to address the lack of funding for the Counseling and Wellness Center.
Meyers announced the task force at Student Senate on Tuesday.
“I’ve known about this mental health issue for a while, and as you have seen last week and this week, mental health is an issue on this campus, and it’s an issue students are passionate about,” Meyers said.
He named UF psychology and family, youth and community sciences senior Valeria Hernandez, a suicide survivor, as the task force leader.
The task force will serve as a platform for students to talk about mental health to their representatives in SG and the state legislature.
“We want to hear student concerns and offer them that space to be heard,” Hernandez, 22, said. “I think the university will really benefit from this.”
Hernandez said the task force’s duties aren’t concrete yet, but she would like to hold forums and meetings, as well as lobby representatives by sending them letters.
Although details are undecided, Hernandez said she wants the task force to have about seven members.
Smith said he chose Hernandez because she reached out to him in April. They met about six times since to discuss solutions to lack of funding for mental health.
“Mental health should not be a privilege; it should be a right,” Hernandez said.