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 WE  FIGHT.

  SO RACHAEL’S SUICIDE IS THE LAST  

YALE ALUMNI, STUDENTS, AND FAMILIES  FOR MENTAL HEALTH REFORM 

Elis for Rachael formed in the wake of Rachael Shaw Rosenbaum's (Yale College 2024) death by suicide. We are alumni, students, and family members, class years ranging from the 1960s to 2020s who want long-overdue change to Yale's policies towards students with mental illness.

AN OLD, PERVASIVE PROBLEM HAS GONE UNCHECKED

At Yale, students have been begging for common-sense reform of mental health policies for decades. Harsh and opaque withdrawal and reinstatement policies make students afraid to seek help, sometimes with lethal consequences.

Our Goal:

We want Yale to change its policies and procedures around withdrawal to support, rather than punish, students when they are ill.

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"Upon release from the hospital … my Yale ID was confiscated, as was my room key. I was given one evening to pack up my entire life."

 Rachel Williams, Yale College 2017 

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Students, especially students of limited financial means, are afraid of withdrawal.

Did you know? 

Following a hospitalization for suicidal ideation or an attempt, for example, a student is expected to have their belongings packed up and be moved off campus within a maximum of 48-72 hours. Access to campus resources, including online resources, is terminated immediately.  The reinstatement application requires:

1. Interviews (typically in-person at student's expense, pre-pandemic) 

2. Grade of B or higher in two courses at a four-year institution. Very limited financial aid is available from Yale.

3. Personal statement

4. Letters of support (i.e. employers, professors) 

5. Letter from clinician

    (Source: Yale Catalog)

Lack of institutional support and onerous requirements for reinstatement mean that first generation, low income students are especially disadvantaged.  In addition, reinstatement is not guaranteed, and the process is shielded from scrutiny under the guise of medical privacy. Despite Yale's tepid reassurances, it is clear that students are scared and unconvinced. At least two recent suicides are partially attributable to these fears.

   Yale College students who receive financial aid during the regular academic year are able to apply for 50% off tuition for up to two courses at Yale Summer Sessions. The remaining out of pocket cost for two required courses for reinstatement is $4500 as of Summer 2021. Practically, most students on leave or withdrawal  return to their parents' home far outside the New Haven area.  Those from rural areas are particularly challenged to find and pay for courses at a four year institution.  

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Dear Yale: I loved being here. I only wish I could’ve had some time. I needed time to work things out and to wait for new medication to kick in, but I couldn’t do it in school, and I couldn’t bear the thought of having to leave for a full year, or of leaving and never being readmitted. Love, Luchang.

 Luchang Wang 
Yale College, Silliman 2017 

Yale denies health insurance to students withdrawn for health reasons, including mental or physical health.

Withdrawn students lose all access to health insurance through Yale. Even costly affiliate coverage is not an option for them. The student group Mental Health Justice at Yale has gathered over 1,000 signatures on a petition where two of their six demands related to the issue of adequate insurance: 

1. Every Yale student, regardless of enrollment status, maintains access to a year-round subsidized Yale Basic and Hospitalization/Speciality Care plan or equivalent.

2.  Add a Preferred Partner Organization (PPO) insurance option to Yale’s existing HMO model. The PPO model is used throughout the UC system, Stanford, and all other Ivy League institutions, which will give students access to a nationwide network of clinicians with a wide range of backgrounds and specialties, alleviating the demand on Yale Mental Health & Counseling.

 Sign the petition  

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 KEEP IN TOUCH 

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Thank you!