How Are You -- Honestly?

Photo by Jurica Koletic

Photo by Jurica Koletic

College campuses and high schools usually offer counseling services, where students can go and talk through any problems they are facing. So why is it that students still feel as though they have nobody to talk to during difficult times? Studies have shown that students often do not know about the counseling services offered at their universities, or they are afraid of being treated for a stigmatized mental disorder. I myself can relate to that. Even after discovering my school’s counseling department, I felt like being told to “just breathe” was not enough. My panic attacks couldn’t be solved by “thinking of a happy place” and taking “fewer classes” weren't going to boost my mental health. I needed real help, as do hundreds of thousands of high school and college students in America.

Approximately 36% of college students experience depression, and 41% of college students experience anxiety. And then there are students who do not have a mental disorder, but go through times of helplessness or feel overwhelmed at some point. Given the stress that comes with being a college student, it is so important for college campuses to provide professional mental health services, and also highlight the importance of seeking help.

I feel that in our society, we more than often wait until it’s too late – until it’s too late to help, communicate, educate, change rules or policies, or too late to save a life. Colleges and Universities need to start talking about mental health, and additional resources need to be provided.

Although I am close to concluding my undergraduate studies, I think of my younger brothers, who are months away from beginning theirs. I want them to attend universities where help is available, where there are professionals ready to listen and alleviate some of their inevitable stress. Most importantly, I want it to be okay to talk about mental health on campuses, and for students not to be afraid of the stigma associated with it

Emely Morillo