It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: Student Mental HealthHailey Peeples November 19, 2019 0 COMMENTS
Let’s face it, we have all had ups and downs in life, and have had times when we’ve struggled. It’s hard enough to get through rough patches in life, but things become even harder when you’re struggling with a mental illness.
For example, when struggling with a mental illness, two weeks of grieving over your recently deceased grandfather turns into two months of having no motivation or desire to get out of bed, eat, or even function properly. That presentation for class goes from being anxious presenting the day of to a whole week of being anxious to the point of not being able to sleep and feeling nauseous all the time. Once you figure out what your grade is, you’re still anxious wondering what you could have done better, what your classmates thought about your presentation, etc.
According to collegestats.org, 50% of students rated their mental health as below average or poor. To be more specific 75% of students who suffer from depression do not seek help, which leads into the next statistic, stating that there are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses every year.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among college students. When asking Avery Barber, one of Catawba’s Counselors, he stated that students are more aware of the counseling services offered by Catawba. Barber estimates that about 50% of students are unaware that Catawba offers counseling services, despite the amount of advertisements around campus. The best part is that the counseling services offered by Catawba are free (if referred to a psychiatrist or a doctor for medication the student and their insurance provider is responsible for paying the outside source) and it’s confidential. Barber believes that anxiety is the most common mental health problem among Catawba’s students, followed by depression (mostly reactive depression), and substance abuse.
In order to maintain good mental health, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to build a good support system. Some things that negatively affect mental health would be social media, according to Lauren Stephenson, also a counselor at Catawba. Stephenson believes that social media is a negative impactor of mental health because students aren’t truly connecting with each other because they hide behind the mask of their social media. Stephenson could not stress enough how negative social media is for mental health, especially regarding self-image and self-esteem.
When asking Stephenson how students can help other students who are struggling with mental health, she gave a powerful answer. She stated that the best way to help someone struggling with mental health is to physically be there for the person. Stephenson states that it’s so important not to shy away from the uncomfortable topic of mental health. For example, if you are talking to someone and they seem to be suicidal (understand that joking about suicide can be a way of coping with suicidal feelings) do not be afraid to ask them if they are suicidal. If they are suicidal sit down, listen, be supportive, and encourage them to seek help.
We all struggle sometimes, Stephenson states that the best way to help someone is to “be real about the real stuff.” Collegestats.org states that 30% of college students struggle academically because of mental health issues. Many students feel that professors won’t understand, but Barber states that a lot of professors are very understanding when it comes to mental health and many professors have referred or even walked their students to see counselors. It is so important to seek help if you are struggling with mental health. Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you are a bad person or that you are weak, you need some extra help and that’s okay.
Today, it is so much easier to book an appointment with any of the three counselors offered by Catawba and you can easily change counselors without any judgement. The biggest key is to follow the guidance your counselor gives you and to be completely honest with them so they can accurately help you. The counselors goal is help you live the best life possible and they believe that every student is capable of amazing things.
Please Seek help if you are struggling with mental illness
“It’s okay, if your not okay”
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7)- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line (24/7)- Text START to 741-741