As college students, we are all aware of the stresses we feel on a daily basis, let alone across the semester. Some of us are more resilient and resistant to stress, while others react in a multitude of other ways, including by developing anxiety and disorder. According to Time magazine, students across the nation are seeking counseling services in growing numbers. They quote a study from the year 2015, done by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH), which describes a 30% increase in numbers of students visiting campus counselors between the years of 2009 and 2015. This study also found that the students who are seeking help are also increasingly likely to have attempted suicide or engaged in self-harm. An even more recent study in 2017, conducted by the American College Health Association, found that out of 63,000 participating students and 92 universities, nearly 40% of college students said they had felt so depressed it was difficult to function, and 61% responded that they had “felt overwhelming anxiety.”
The increasing numbers of students seeking help also means increasing wait times for students who need access to counselors and the inability of those counselors to set up weekly appointments due to a large student demand. The average university has one professional counselor for every 1,737 students: this is fewer counselors than the recommended minimum by the International Association of Counseling Services (they recommend a single counselor for every 1,000 to 1,500 students). However, hope is not lost. The CCMH report from 2016 noted that universities have increased resources devoted to short-term services including walk-in appointments and crisis treatment for students demonstrating signs of distress. Universities are also implementing their own individualized ways of increasing access to counselors. For example, UCLA offered all incoming students a free online screening for depression, so that way counselors can follow up with those who were identified as being at risk for severe depression. Virginia Tech University has opened several satellite counseling clinics to reach students where they already spend time, such as above their local Starbucks. Ohio State University created a dozen mental health clinics during the 2016-2017 year and launched its own counseling app that gives students access to ease of making appointments, breathing exercises, a playlist designed to cheer them up and contacts in case of an emergency.
Courtesy: FSU Counseling Center
Our very own Florida State University has many resources to obtain access to mental health counseling. The University Counseling Center website is loaded with information, such as its own screening test which is completely anonymous and provides you with personalized resources along with your results. It gives you information about how to receive an appointment with a professional counselor, and if you’re uncomfortable speaking to a counselor, it also provides information and resources for self-help. It provides directions to the center and easy access to Nole Central to help you find people with similar interests when you are feeling lonely on campus. The center also promotes programs focused on Realizing Everyone’s Need for Emotional Wellness (this is the actual name of the program, also known as RENEW) and preventing traumas such as sexual assault (the kNOw More campaign).
Her Campus believes mental health is extremely important for personal and professional success. If you are feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious, we encourage you to use the resources listed above. Mental health is just as important as physical wellness. Make sure to take care of not only your bodies but also your minds.