Thank you for your article entitled “Mental health accessibility at Towson University” in the Oct. 31 edition of The Towerlight. The information presented about the Counseling Center is very important in helping the Towson University community maintain physical, emotional and psychological wellness in their lives. I write to express my thoughts on another aspect of wellness – the resilience of the spirit.
The philosopher Plato in his work, “The Republic,” wrote each person has three parts – the mind, the body and the spirit. He further writes that a just person is an individual who is balanced in these three areas. In my experience as a former Army chaplain, the foundational being of the spirit has been pushed aside in favor of therapies which can be quantified. For example, psychological determinations are quantifiable, and one can define progress based on treatment strategies based on response to medical intervention. Traumatic situations, PTSD or other stressors have the ability of depleting reservoir of spiritual resiliency. Simply put, it is extremely difficult to diagnose the soul.
With all the advancements in psychological evaluation and medical knowledge, our nation is in the middle of an epidemic. According to the CDC, suicide was the third leading cause of death between the ages of 15-24 in 2010. I believe one of the contributing causes for the rise in suicide is the loss of hope. Spirituality is one of the reservoirs of hope.
In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the role of the soul is addressed in the therapy. The research presented in “Religious and spiritual issues in DSM-5: matters of the mind and searching of the soul” seeks to find a working paradigm to help provide a holistic diagnosis for patients.
On campuses across the country — and even at Towson University — the divide between therapists, who seek to treat mental health concerns, and pastoral care professionals are worlds apart. Pastoral care professionals are not seen as important or necessary to maintaining wellness, even though their level of postgraduate doctorate seminary education equals their PhD counterparts.
I am not saying the staff at the Counseling Center is not doing admirable and excellent work. On the contrary, Towson University should be commended for hiring dedicated medical and psychological staff to provide counseling services for mental health and psychological concerns. My goal is to advocate for a multidisciplinary team approach including the input of pastoral care professionals to help our community overcome all the events of their lives. A traditional stool stands on three legs. If one of those three legs are missing, the stool will not stand. A balanced person needs three healthy parts (body, mind and spirit) of themselves to live a good life.
Dr. Antonio Campbell
Towson University Political Science Department