It is OK to get help


Prakriti Adhikari/The Lion’s Roar

The University Counceling Center provides Gratitude Journal booklet to help students reflect on the positive aspects of their life.

Even though mental health is an important aspect of a healthy life, it may sometimes be swept under the rug.

Mental health issues are a common problem among college students and anyone needing help must always seek it.

According to the American Psychological Association, “the number of university students with serious mental illnesses – such as depression and anxiety – is on the rise,” and “86% of students with a psychiatric disorder withdraw from college prior to completing their degree.”

Annette Newton, assistant director of outreach and programming for the University Counseling Center, is a licensed mental health counselor. She mentioned some of the patterns that are common to students who need to seek help regarding mental issues.

“Problems getting your work done, sleeping either too much or not sleeping at all, sometimes your friend may make comment like that ‘you’re losing interest,’” noted Newton. “If you feel like your eating has changed, have problems with concentration. Sometimes your friends may notice before you. Those are some of the indicators to come to counseling.”

Newton encouraged students to seek help as soon as they notice any of the mentioned patterns, emphasizing that it gets easier to solve problems when they are not too complicated.

“Typically, when things are minor, they are easier to handle,” said Newton. “They are easier to treat when they’re small. Not that things are not treatable when they are big but when you think of things like sometimes people get so depressed that they miss class. So, if you are feeling depressed, and you’ve only missed a couple of days of class, it’s easier at that point to come and seek counseling than if you’ve missed months of class.”

According to the American Psychological Association, “Anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6%), followed by depression (36.4%) and relationship problems (35.8%).” Newton also noted that these are the major problems in the university.

The UCC offers one on one counseling for students protecting confidentiality as well as group counseling for those seeking for help.

“We are trying to make it a lot easier for students to pursue,” said Newton. “All they need to do is come to the Counseling Center and do an intake form and ask for an appointment with a counselor. That is the most traditional way to seek for help, but now the University Counseling Center is also offering support groups. So, a student could literally drop in to one of these groups.”

Some of the support group services offered by the Counseling Center are Overcoming Anxiety Support Group, Here and Queer, Check Your Baggage and Refuge Recovery. Information on support groups can be obtained through the University Counseling Center.

Paige Moody, a mental health counselor at UCC, encouraged students to join group sessions.

“There is a healing that happens in group therapy that does not happen in one on one,” said Moody. “You realize you’re not alone, and because this can make people isolated, you realize you actually have in common with other people that are dealing with similar circumstances. No two people ever walk the same exact path but we can have similarities, and there’s a lot of power in breaking shame and feeling of isolation by coming in to groups.”

The UCC is located at the Student Union Annex. Fees for the services provided are already included in student’s tuition, and the office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.