It has been nearly eight months since I was released from Yale New Haven Hospital on the grounds that I continue my treatment with a psychologist and a psychiatrist at Yale Health. My gratitude for these people is unparalleled—not only did they save my life; they have made my day to day Yale experience infinitely better. Since my release, however, I have come to realize that my experience dealing with mental health at Yale is unique. From very positive experiences to very horrible experiences and everything in between, no two stories are the same.
While dealing with mental health is an intensely personal matter, the scope of the problem is enormous. When opening up about my own struggles, almost every person that I spoke with at least had a friend or family member dealing with mental illness, if they were not struggling themselves. Yet in the intense pressure cooker that is Yale, we often fail to create a space to be vulnerable, a space in which we feel safe addressing these issues of mental health. We need a platform on which members of the Yale community feel empowered to vocalize their concerns and share their stories. The Yale Layer was born as a response to this need.
The other founding members of this project and I hope to create a meaningful dialogue about mental health at Yale. But we can’t do it alone. Whether you are a student, faculty member, alumni, or have any other affiliation to our community, our ability to uncover the issue of mental health on campus and inspire change depends on you. Please consider sharing your stories, research, opinions, or ideas so that together we can work to make the Yale community as healthy and supportive as it can be.
I was fortunate enough to receive nothing but care, love, and compassion when I spoke up about my own struggles with mental health at Yale. Now, the other members of the Yale Layer and I hope to offer that same love and support to anyone at Yale that needs it. Even if you do not feel comfortable having your own pieces published, we sincerely hope that the works you find here will move you, inform you, and inspire you.
By Anna Hope Emerson.