Another way to help ensure success this semester? (For the first, see the inaugural article in this #30 Day Challenge.) Make sure you familiarize yourself with your campus’s health center.
Mental Health Disorders
NPR recently reported on the prevalence of mental health disorders among the nation’s 50 million public schoolchildren; of those, 5 million show signs of a mental health disorder, but nearly 80% of them will receive no treatment—not counseling, therapy, or medication.
Some of those children will eventually go to college. According to a 2013 Forbes article, one college student in four takes psychotropic drugs that allow them to function in school. Other students are dealing with autism spectrum disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, or other issues.
Your Campus Health Center
The campus health center isn’t just about treating sports injuries or other physical needs. Emotional well-being deeply affects learning, and campus health centers often provide some counseling services.
The Forbes article includes a great quote from a Dr. Daniel Silverman: “Health creates capacity; students whose health status is positive and flourishing have greater ability and readiness to learn and engage fully in all meaningful educational experiences inside and outside the classroom. . . . The learner as a whole person matters in the learning.”
So here are six ways you can maintain your mental health this semester—and for the rest of your college career.
- Know what services your campus health center provides. Ideally, before you started school you and your family researched the mental health resources available on and near your college campus.
- Seek care if you feel you need it. Don’t wait for others to validate your feelings.
- Sometimes anxiety or depression can manifest physically, such as with headaches or stomach aches; or behaviorally, such as by acting out sexually, drinking too much, or even failing academically. Seeing a counselor may provide insight into root causes.
- Don’t dismiss or minimize your emotional pain. If your campus health center can’t help, ask to be referred to a nearby provider.
- Know what calms and centers you. Get involved with a local church, join the campus choir, or meet regularly with other like-minded students.
- If you are in crisis, text STEVE to 741741 to speak with a live, trained crisis counselor affiliated with the Steve Fund, an organization dedicated to the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color.
For information about the Steve Fund, go to its website.