Hello (potential) new Bruins!! My name is Dani Lowder and I am thrilled to be next in what I’m sure has been a long line of congratulations on the amazing achievement of gaining acceptance into UCLA. I am a fourth-year Political Science major and Arabic and Islamic studies minor from Orange County, CA. I could not be more thankful for the last four years and the friends, extracurriculars, academics, and adventures that have come with them. I have grown in infinite ways because of UCLA and could not be prouder of the person I will be upon graduation in a few short months.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: it’s a tumultuous time full of anxiety, ambiguity, and concern for our health and the health of others. While you’re evaluating your options for next year, you may be even more curious than ever about how schools are taking care of their students’ mental and physical health moving forward. That’s where I come in to tell you all about Student Health Services here at UCLA. I have been lucky enough to serve as both Vice Chair of the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), which counsels our physical health center on campus – the Ashe Center, and the Co-Chair of the Bruin Mental Health Advisory Committee (BMHAC), which counsels our Counseling and Psychological Services Center (CAPS).
The Ashe Center is our one-stop shop for all things physical healthcare here at UCLA. Not only is it centrally located, right in the middle of campus, it also is accessible for every student, whether they are a part of the UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UCSHIP) or not. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to take a look at the UCSHIP plan and work with your family to determine if it’s the right option for you. The Ashe Center provides almost every service in the book, from primary care to women’s health, from dentistry to physical therapy. During my two-year service as a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee, I got to work closely with everyone in the higher administration including the executive directors, insurance managers, and clinicians themselves to ensure the Ashe center’s practices and policies are in the best interest of students.
Through my involvement in SHAC, I got to serve on the Bruin Mental Health Advisory Committee, which serves pretty much the same service, but for mental health care on campus. We work closely with the Executive Director of our Counseling Center to shape practices and policies, make recommendations on how mental health care can be even more accessible to students, and help build up the RISE center. RISE stands for Resilience in your Student Experience and is both a physical location for mindfulness and mental wellness and the idea that mental health shouldn’t be limited to meeting with a therapist or psychiatrist and is an ongoing experience that requires care and support. We at UCLA have created a community that not only has open, ongoing conversations about mental health, but that also supports everyone in their individual journeys.
I tell you about my experiences in these committee to emphasis not only how much all of our healthcare facilities prioritize student feedback, but also how UCLA has created permanent channels through which this feedback can be communicated back and forth. Your safety, wellbeing, and comfort should never be in question while you balance all of your normal college obligations; at UCLA they won’t be. If you have any, more specific questions about any of our health services, feel free to check out the websites for both the Ashe Center and UCLA CAPS.
I wish you all the best of luck as you weigh your options the next couple of weeks. It’s a crazy time and a scary decision, but in the end, you’ll find the school that’s right for you and have an amazing couple of years. I hope more than anything that school is UCLA and that you will join our amazing community next fall. Go Bruins!