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An old, pervasive problem has gone unchecked

Kudos to Laura Krantz for highlighting numerous problems with college mental health policies during COVID (“In first year at an Ivy, a tragic loneliness” Page A1, June 6). Suicide also struck our alma mater this spring when, struggling against restrictive academic leave and uncertain reinstatement policies, Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum (Yale College ’24) took her own life.

At Yale, students have been begging for common-sense reform of mental health policies for decades. Prohibitive wait times have made seeing a therapist practically impossible for many students. During the pandemic, off-campus students have described being “ghosted” by their providers. Over the years, three independent student groups have produced detailed reports highlighting the need for numerous reforms, including the Yale College Council (in 2013 and 2015 and 2018), the Yale Law School Mental Health Alliance (2014), and, just last month, Mental Health Justice at Yale (2021). Ivy League universities as a group have remained willfully blind toward the desperate need for reform. In “The Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health in the Ivy League” (2018), the University of Pennsylvania fared best, earning a D+. Dartmouth and Yale both failed.


The pandemic may have exacerbated these deficiencies, but they were problematic long before COVID. The inescapable conclusion is that these schools are more concerned with image than with the mental health of their students. If we are to honor the brief but beautiful lives of Beau and Connor and Elizabeth and Rachael — as well as Thomas and Rae Na and Hale and Luchang and Cameron and Greg — we need high standards to exist in reality, not just in promotional materials.

Amy E. Davidson

Yale College ’87


Paul Mange Johansen

Yale College ’88


Alicia Floyd


Yale College ’05

Rapid City, S.D.

Rishi Mirchandani

Yale College ’19

New York, N.Y

Willow Sylvester

Yale College ’22

Bath, Maine