Santa Clara University students put more pressure on school officials for adequate mental health services

Students at Santa Clara University held a demonstration on Thursday, pushing administrators for better mental health services on campus.

On the Santa Clara University campus, students were frustrated and grieving after the death of three classmates last month. Two of them died by suicide.

The group said the university simply isn't doing enough to help them cope.

"Students feel incredibly misunderstood. They don't feel heard. They don't feel seen. They don't feel as if the administration cares about their mental health," said freshman Courtney Bell.

And so on Thursday, hundreds came out to demonstrate and speak from the heart about their experiences. They also urged administrators to take action.

"A lot of what we're calling for is changes in the resources we are provided because many of our mental health resources are beyond subpar," said senior Nat Gilmore.

Among the problems: they cite crisis lines with limited hours and counseling services with long waits.

"They need appointments and they wait two weeks, wait a month. And some students don't have a week. They don't have two weeks. They don't have days even," said Bell.

And so the students sent a list of demands to administrators asking that mental health services be better funded or outsourced when necessary. They also asked that there be improvements to the wellness center, more academic leniency, and better communication among other things.

SEE ALSO: Santa Clara University students demand better mental health resources in wake of recent deaths

"I don't think this is going to be a quick change. I don't think it's going to happen before next quarter, but we just want to see effort from their end. And that hasn't been happening," said junior Meg Wu.

But in the hours after the demonstration, there was a seeming victory for the group.

The student body president posted an update on Instagram, saying "the Executive board has committed several million dollars to support mental health resources..."

The message goes on to say, "they have heard our voices."

In a statement late Thursday a spokesperson said, "the University has committed significant financial and human resources that will be put into action as soon as possible." The statement continued, "We have encouraged all faculty to work individually with their students to determine what other measures may be appropriate." 

The university had already announced some temporary changes this week, extending a pass/no pass grading option for students, creating a 24/7 support line, and adding on-site grief counselors at two residence halls.

Students would like those changes to be permanent.

However, with the new financial commitment students say they are finally feeling heard.