As much progress as we’ve made in society when it comes to abuse and mental health stigma, it seems like there will always be a story like this one around to remind us why it’s not always going to be safe for people to be open about their mental health struggles.
If an applicant writes an essay about issues with psychological challenges, the admissions staff places a red flag on the application and it receives another view. Notably, this happens even if the student has received a score (in a formula largely based on grades, high school curriculum and test scores) that qualifies the applicant for automatic admission. And some of those applicants have been getting rejected.
My initial, angry, reaction, to this was to think this college doesn’t deserve these students who have managed to overcome their mental health struggles and get to this point, and I still think that is true, but that was accompanied by another thought, that this is a perfect example of something I’ve talked about before. For many people, who may be applying to college, or for a job, or who work in fields that would carry a lot of stigma around the issue, it’s not always safe to speak openly about their mental health struggles.
This is why those of us who can, need to, and it’s why when someone does speak openly about it, we must be willing to share those voices.
For everyone who is at risk of being red-flagged. They deserve to know that we know they are there, even if they can’t admit it.
That’s how we fight stigma, and fight we will, until no one has to deal with this kind of thing.