The Marriott School of Business is currently working with BYU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to hire a mental health counselor with a special focus on working with Marriott School students, faculty and administration.
“Throughout the past few years, we have recognized a growing need in the student population for additional mental health resources,” said Eric Teel, the BYU Marriott School of Business administrative dean.
In December 2018, a student died after jumping from the atrium of the fourth floor of the Tanner Building. Accounting student Tynan Hamilton was in the building when the incident happened.
“It was a hard thing for me,” Hamilton said. “There were multiple times when I would go to the CAPS and have an emergency session.”
Hamilton said the mental health counselors he talked to were accommodating and helped talk him through his feelings and concerns. He also said he has found great support among his professors. The incident has generated an important discussion on mental health for students on campus.
Emily Cannon is a junior in the marketing program at the Marriott School. When she first came to BYU, Cannon had a difficult time dealing with the pressure of coming to a university where she felt “below average” compared to everyone around her.
“The Marriott School is stressful. I feel that every time I walk into the Tanner Building, I can just sense stress,” Cannon said. “I think it’s because the programs are tough and in addition to that, they expect so much out of you.”
This will be the first time the Marriott School is hiring a mental health professional.
“Ultimately, we want what’s best for our students and will take whatever time is necessary to ensure the right individual is hired,” Teel said. “We look forward to adding a high-impact player to our team.”
Almost two years ago, a Mental Health Committee was created as part of the BYU Marriott School of Business Student Council. The council consists of a group of students, faculty and staff advisors who are tasked with specifically helping the college raise awareness and provide education around mental health challenges. The council is looking forward to working closely with the new counselor once the hiring process is complete.
The mental health of students is a key college priority and a frequent topic of discussion in leadership meetings between the Marriott School and BYU CAPS. The school plans on continuing to work closely with the CAPS office in gauging student needs and resources.
Cannon said she thinks hiring a mental health counselor for the Marriott School would be highly beneficial for students.
“But perhaps even more beneficial would be if we were to talk about mental health in class — or even better, have a class specifically about mental health,” Cannon said. “There seems to still be a stigma about struggles with mental health and I think if we were all to talk more openly about our struggles, it would be the best thing we could do.”
In addition to the counseling resources on campus, Hamilton said he has found great support among his professors. He remembers sitting in a finance class a few years ago when the professor stood in front of his 700 students and said, “If anyone is struggling in their testimony, with being here at BYU, with mental health, with your sexuality or anything and need someone to talk to, I’m more than happy to be a listening ear and be there for you. Just know that my office is a safe place.”
Hamilton said he realized there are so many amazing people on campus who are able to provide that support for students.
“We want students struggling with mental health issues to know we care. We want these students to know that they are loved and that help is available,” Teel said. “We want each one of our students to know they are here for a reason, and we are in this together. Please reach out. We are a community that can and will support each other. Please don’t suffer alone.”