Will Donovan: In defense of University Counseling Center

It occurs to me that several people I know might be reading this letter, and as we all know, it’s pretty hard to mask identity and protect privacy when it’s your own. In the words of Bon Jovi, “Well it’s all the same, only the names are changed .” But look, my name is Will Donovan and I have battled with depression all my life. It’s not an issue – we all do it, at one point or another, and anyone who says they haven’t is probably lying. Don’t tell them that, though, or you might make it worse.

The fact is, for the most part, I get over it. Let’s be real – life at GW is pretty good, even though I really miss Burger King Express (damn you Aramark!) But sometimes, I don’t get over it. Last year was one of those years. I couldn’t get over it. I lost a close friend, was in a difficult relationship, in over my head with classes, lived in the West End (yikes) and, generally speaking, I was in trouble. My parents weren’t there for me; my girlfriend wasn’t there for me; my friends didn’t know what to do for me; and at the end of the day, there was only one place I could turn to: the University Counseling Center.

Now I only know from what I’ve read in The Washington Post and in The Hatchet about what’s happened to this poor kid who seemingly has been kicked out of school for being suicidal. If that’s the case, then that’s just wrong. Suicidal thoughts are some of the deepest and darkest ones possible, and only the best-trained and caring individuals are equipped to deal with it. In this case, it would seem that the UCC was the best place for him to go, though clearly something went wrong in the process.

But no student at GW should feel that this is just cause for not visiting the UCC when they need it. Lord knows where I’d be today if I hadn’t convinced myself it was the right decision to swallow my pride and go get help. The worst thing about this whole lawsuit situation is that it makes students in need wary of tracking help down.

We all deal with hard times – there is no religious or psychological school of thought that will ever say that any single person on the planet will be dealt wonderful days full of tequila, sunshine and afternoon classes. Just like we must suck it up and take the 8 a.m., so too must we be honest with ourselves when the time comes to seek assistance for our minds and our souls.

Please, GW, do not judge the UCC too harshly. Yes, it would seem that this is a terrible situation that GW has gotten itself into. Despite this, I can honestly testify that when the rest of the world seemed to melt away in my time of need, it was the UCC that was there for me.

-The writer is a junior majoring in religion.

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