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‘Are you going to CAPS?’

A question I have been asked many a time, upon divulging the fact that I am sad, or distressed, or scared, or feeling unstable. To answer the question: no. I am, in fact, in therapy. But I use a separate system that has proven to be much better for my overall mental health. That is not the point of this piece. What I want to talk about is my loved ones, and my not so loved ones, who feel that this is an appropriate question to ask.

When poetry is a luxury

I like poetry. Maybe it’s because of the abundance of Dr. Seuss books that were placed on my shelf as a kid, or maybe because of the painfully awkward and yet somehow still magical reading of Romeo and Juliet put on by my seventh grade class. Maybe it’s because poetry is a concentrated and powerful way of using words to capture the fleeting moments of life (not to wax too poetic, of course).

Statement for delivery to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole on Stanford’s leave of absence policy

It’s undeniable that mental illness is a pressing issue on college campuses, especially at Stanford, where students are constantly pressured to succeed. It’s undeniable, too, that stigma against mental illness is a form of ableism — something that blames individuals for their struggles instead of attending to structural issues like a lack of accessibility to mental health resources. Which is why it’s so frustrating to learn that Stanford has made it a matter of institutional policy to treat students struggling with mental illness as security risks to be disciplined, and not as people with disabilities, worthy of respect. Through a gross misapplication of its Dean’s Leave of Absence policy, Stanford has evicted students from on-campus housing and barred them from campus for either expressing suicidal ideas or acting on suicidal thoughts, without regard to the facts of each individual’s case and the possible long-term impact of its actions on students’ health and recovery.