DePauw Health partnered with the school of music, but students still feel unheard

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Next week, Dean of the School of Music, Mark McCoy will again meet with school of music students to discuss their mental and physical health concerns after holding student-led meetings.

Even after DePauw Health formed this past summer, by expanded health services available to students, there are many students that still feel left in the dust when it comes to their overall health.   

“We offer academic support services, on-campus tutoring and several other methods of assistance,” said McCoy. “We need to work with students to measure the efficacy of these and other efforts.”

Some of the current efforts that are available through the health center include; hearing screenings, injury prevention that use methods focusing on the upper extremities and spine, vocal screenings, drug and alcohol education that highlights healthy choices specifically for musicians and overall wellness resources.  

McCoy said these services were designed as part of their 21st Century Musician Initiative.

“Throughout the semester we have had sessions on hearing health, repetitive motion injuries, Alexander technique and counseling services,” said McCoy.

Just as the musicians are being prepared for a career in the 21st century, medical services were also updated this summer to reflect time by incorporating more technology.  

DePauw health uses an online portal system that tracks the health history for all students registered.  For Musicians the website says, “this ensures every healthcare professional caring for the student knows they are a musician, leading to a customized treatment plan and rapid referral to specialty care when needed.”

Music student Natalia Fumero said she hasn’t heard of her peers receiving such services. Although, it is not necessarily that the services are not available.

“I also don’t believe that they have the time to ask for it,” she said.

Students in the school or music have very long days.  Fumero said, “Mostly I’m free late at night and during the weekends.”

The wellness center is only open for a three-hour window on Saturday mornings, a time Fumero says she is free.  Weekday hours vary by day, but the earliest they open is 8 am only on Mondays and the latest being 6pm on just Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Unfortunately for students like Fumero, making an appointment with student health or counseling services means taking time away from their studies.  

“For the students who lack time for regular bodily necessities from 8am to 5:30 pm (or way later for many), going to make an appointment for a "small" issue such as "I'm overwhelmed" just seems like a waste of precious time,” said Fumero. “Maybe if the services were brought to us rather than we having to go to them it would make less difficult a task.”

A lack of time seems to pose a large problem for School of Music students in addressing their health concerns.

The DePauw Health website, under health services for student musicians says,As a student musician, you have the opportunity to take advantage of a holistic approach to healthcare, which includes preventative screenings, primary care and educational programming about nutrition, physical activity and stress management.”

Julie D’Argent of counseling services said that many students from the school of music do seek services from them each year.  

D’ Argent also said, that counseling services is very busy working with students as the end of the semester approaches.

Responding in an email, she said, “Throughout the years, we have worked with various students across campus including the school of music and have reached out to the faculty regarding the outreach programing that we are offering this academic year as well as letting them know that we are open to creating new programs based on the needs of their students.”

From a student perspective, many just do not have the time to address their health needs, mental or physical.

“I have had a bladder infection for three months now and I can't get rid of it because I refuse to use the bathroom cause then I'll interrupt class or rehearsal again or I won't have this full half hour to practice between these two classes,” said Fumero. “I'm positive that I am not the only student out there (Greek or not) who has let little issues go out of control because they stop seeing their body and mind as a priority and that is plain wrong.”

Those who have opposed the cry of many music students asking for support have made it an argument of strength.  Fumero mentioned an opposers Facebook post with the quote, "don't go in the kitchen if you can't stand the heat."

Students have started to vocalize their health needs, and the administration has said they are willing to work with them.

“We take these students concerns very seriously as we prepare them for the rigors of the real world,” said McCoy. “It is a work in progress and students, faculty and staff are working to address these concerns.”