Upon reading the article about UF’s Counseling & Wellness Center fee proposal being denied, I felt deeply disappointed. “Affordability is of the utmost importance to our students.” Really?

College is one of the few, if not the only, opportunity for people to have free access to individual counseling, group therapy sessions and so forth. Once we’re pushed into adulthood, it’s not guaranteed our insurance will cover mental health treatments or that we’ll have time to seek out a counselor while working at  whatever job we manage to scrounge in this economy. 71.4 cents per credit hour now is truly nothing compared to the $150 appointments one may have to pay later in life.

I am writing this letter because I am one of the lucky ones.

I started seeing a counselor at the beginning of the Summer 2017 semester and clicked with them right away. Counseling sessions were never easy, but they got me through the semester. When things got rough, I was referred to UF Psychiatry. I was scared I would have to pay a lot for appointments and medications because I was doing all these things alone. Due to cultural stigmas about mental illness, I could not use my parents’ insurance in fear of being found out. Thankfully, UF’s health fee covered my appointment costs, and a good nurse showed me how to get my prescription at a low price.

Those who have never had their mental health take a hit do not understand how much time it takes away from you. Three weeks to wait for a triage appointment is three weeks of uncertainty. Life goes on while that person waits for the resources they need.

Would UF want its students looking back at their college experience and wondering why they didn’t get help sooner (or at all)? If “every Gator counts,” they would be taking care of their students not only academically and physically, but mentally as well. Confronting our mental health now leads to a more successful adulthood and an increase in quality of life overall.

For those who are discouraged by what they hear in regard to the difficulty of getting an appointment with the CWC, there are options.

If you can’t get a triage and things are becoming too much, there are walk-in counselors available at both the Peabody Hall (3rd Floor) and Radio Road locations Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you ever need to talk to someone outside of those hours, you can call the Alachua County Crisis Center at 352-264-6789, or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

You have options. People do care.

Cheyenne Cheng is a UF psychology and statistics junior.