College is already hard enough with tests, papers, lab reports, etc. But, what makes it worse for some people is SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka seasonal depression). The winter can be fun or absolute hell depending on your mental health. The winter is dreary, cold with grey skies, and there’s not much you can do outside because of how cold it is. It’s also the quarter that so many students want to drop out or tend to have the most mental breakdowns. I know I was definitely part of this population.
Obviously, mental health and treatment are different for each person. But, usually, the first steps are to talk to a therapist and see a doctor to possibly be prescribed medication. Speaking from my own perspective, this tends to not be very effective on college campuses. The overall process of getting prescribed medicine, that you are not even sure if it will work or not, is very stressful and time-consuming when you are already stressed and overwhelmed with school work.
Seeing therapists on campus is a long process and can involve being put on a waitlist. It’s also based on a first come first serve basis which is problematic considering that at least 100 kids on any college campus could be suffering from mental health problems. They have to wait and be seen only on availability. The therapists tend to just want you to keep talking about your problems without really asking any questions. It’s hard for people to open up about everything that they are struggling with when they don’t even know the cause behind it.
A lot of the people on college campus clinics are people with Masters in Psychology and not actual psychiatrists or therapists. They tend to believe the students when they self diagnoses themselves with depression and anxiety without doing an actual screening. This can result in students getting the unnecessary or wrong treatment.
Also, at my busy campus, the therapist was only available every two weeks for one hour. Considering that a quarter is 10 weeks … we meet for approximately 5 hours in the whole quarter. Winter lasts for three months so seeing someone for 5 hours is merely not enough time to talk to someone and learn about ways to deal with your problems. Students don’t have enough time to talk about their life experiences when there is a time limit and are forced to suffer with their problems with no adequate solution.
Overall, the mental health clinics on college campuses must be revised to help students succeed. There needs to be more time allocated for students and more staff hired that are actual psychologists and/or therapists. Mental health is a long process and students deserve all the support they can get without having to deal with restrictions.