Skip to main content

Prioritizing Mental Health Part Two

Erin details her own experience with mental health and disability support on campus.

Erin details her own experience with mental health and disability support on campus.

People with mental illnesses and/or disabilities are often left out of the conversation in higher education. This is especially so if those disabilities are invisible or don’t negatively influence the people around them. While we aren’t perfect at Carleton, what’s important to me is that we’re making efforts to stop the stigma around disability and mental health.

So, what has Carleton done to make college easier for me, a disabled and otherwise underrepresented student?

  1. Being transparent! I appreciate when people — students, staff, and faculty — are willing to talk about mental health and disability openly. This has been the majority of my experiences and it helps to lessen the feelings of shame that often surround struggles with mental health.
  2. Having lots of options! SHAC is the Student Health and Counseling Center. It is a fantastic (and free!) resource for all students. Every SHAC nurse or counselor I’ve spoken with has been extremely kind, whether we just met for a quick check-in or to discuss concerns.

There are also many other wellbeing resources at Carleton that are more specific and identity-based:

While Carleton has robust formal resources for mental health and disability, one of the best ways I’ve received support has been informally. Because we have small class sizes, it’s common for Carls to form close relationships with their (awesome) professors. This makes it a lot easier to open up to them about your concerns regarding your mental wellbeing (whether it be in the context of their class or not).

I told a professor I was struggling with imposter syndrome in higher education in one of his classes. He then made the time to reach out to me after class to tell me that he was there to support me. This reassured me I wasn’t alone. He even sent me a TedTalk about overcoming imposter syndrome!

Other professors have brought in donuts after seeing our 9th-week stress, or ended class early and offered “office hours strictly for venting, not class.”

In my experience, students here are the same as the professors. They are more than willing to talk openly about mental health and disability, and advocate for the needs of underrepresented students.

The kindness at Carleton is astounding, and it makes my days here so much better.

Please feel free to reach out to me at if you want more details! This first step towards de-stigmatizing mental health and disability are by talking to one another 🙂

Erin grew up catching salamanders, recklessly climbing trees, and running around barefoot in the Appalachian Mountains in a small town in North Carolina. This is her first year at Carleton, and she’s looking forward to meeting new people, exploring campus (especially the arb!), and experiencing her first Minnesota winter. She is currently interested in studying psychology and gender, women’s, and sexuality studiesMeet the other bloggers!