Speaking Out About Mental Health

It’s that time in the semester. It’s getting progressively colder and darker, everyone is sick, more and more homework is being assigned and the stress of the holiday season is weighing students down. Although I am only a first-year, I can feel the college anxiety in the air. During this time of the year, it can feel difficult to stay on top of everything, let alone feel like you’re thriving. Even if you feel okay, it is difficult to see friends suffering. Luckily, Hamline is open minded and open to talking about mental health. There are plenty of resources on campus to utilize and things you can do if you see yourself or someone you know struggling. 

The seemingly most obvious support on campus comes from the Counseling service. This is in the Basement of Manor Hall and is open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on most days. Each student gets 10 hours of service covered by tuition money per year. Even if you don’t have issues with mental health, it is still perfectly healthy to talk to someone about your concerns once in a while. Having someone listen to everything that is on your mind can allow some of your burden to be lifted. 

Another important support system you have here are your professors. For me this was the biggest change I saw from my high school transition. In high school, my teachers didn’t really look out for mental health and figured that if you couldn’t balance every expectation, you just weren’t trying hard enough. In college, the professors want to help you. If you find that you are having trouble with your mental health, it is a good idea to let your professors know what is going on so that if you need an extra day on an assignment, or a different exception, you can communicate with them to find a solution that works for both of you. Even though they are here to teach and make sure you know what you need to, they also care about your experience and want you to do well. 

My planner after a particularly busy week. Photo credit Evelyn Harrison. 

There are a lot of resources here on campus that allow students to speak out about mental health. Although mental health is often stigmatized, there are people who are educated and can help ease some of the stress of being a college student. Also as a note to you personally, take mental health breaks. This does not have to be a whole day and you don’t have to miss class, but taking a night a week to just relax, put on a movie or even catch up on things you haven’t done like laundry or a shower can boost your mood, or at least help you feel a little bit accomplished. Remember: everyone is going through this to some degree, but we are going to get through it! Have a great week!