Should there be more mental health help on college campuses?
Classes, tuition, grades and not to mention balancing a social life could be very stressful for college students. Along with possibly having a job and surviving off the nutrition of ramen noodles, college students have a lot on their plate. How can an 18-year-old handle all of that on their own?
When I first came to college, I thought I had it all figured out. I could balance my classes, get a part-time job and lose weight all within a year. So naturally, I overloaded my plate with numerous campus activities I quickly came to realize that it’s not that easy.
I became overwhelmed with all the responsiblities I had to do, and I became very self-critical. That reflected heavily on my grades. I needed someone to talk to, to vent out any frustrations I had and to understand how I felt. I couldn’t keep letting my anxiety and depression dictate my life. So I turned to the counseling center on my college campus.
The hidden gem of Florida Southern College greeted me with open arms and sloppy kisses from the local therapy dog. Going to therapy sessions became regular for me. It truly helped me understand that committing to too many things at once heightened my stress levels to the max.
Seeking this kind of help was just what I needed to properly adjust to the college. But I couldn’t help but think, how many other students might not know about this service at their school? And what if the idea of going to a therapist makes students ashamed?
According to a New York Times article, a University of California Los Angeles annual survey conducted in 2016 said that 11.9 percent of college students reported feeling depressed in the past year. The survey also said that 47 percent of students considered their mental health above average. The article also notes that the results from The Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State show an alarming increase in students actually attempting suicide. It has risen to 23.8 percent to 33.2 percent since 2011.
A counselor from FSC who wishes to remain anonymous was not surprised when hearing these numbers.
“College can be really hard for some students,” the counselor said. “I think all colleges have room to improve their mental offices on campus. These students just want to be heard, and we’re here to listen.”
I think campuses should integrate programs that allow students to learn more about mental illness and how to treat them. At least educating other students on the signs of mental illness and what they can do to help. I also think this can help break some of the negative stereotypes associated with mental health issues.
Finally, I think it could benefit some students if colleges had open groups where they could meet other people that understand exactly how they feel. It can create the sense of a community and help others realize that they are not alone. It can give students the freedom to share their stories in an open setting if they choose to.
Suicide is the top 10 leading cause of death in America since 2014. If you know anyone who needs help with mental illness or has suicidal thoughts, please give them this phone number. You never know when you might be able to save someone’s life.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
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