Promoting Mental Health

Although World Mental Health Day was observed on October 10th, it’s always beneficial to promote your own mental health. As we end the eighth week of the semester, we settle into the college routine and have more time to self-reflect as to how we are doing. But with Midterm Season underway, keeping healthy may come in second place (or lower) next to academic performance.


With prevention of mental illness starting with better understanding, here are some things to reflect on:


1 This year’s theme was “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World”. As college students, we are no stranger to change in our world. The move from home to school, the new classes, and the shift of social scenes are all part of the adjustment period we face. Though there are many positives, we sometimes forget about the negatives. An inability to adjust may be fixed with time or it may be the sign of something deeper.


2 The day serves to aid in destigmatizing mental illness. Even in 2018, with all the awareness of mental illness and the focus on positive mental health, there is still stigma surrounding the discussion. College students especially struggle with “the decision to disclose or not disclose their mental illness.” This mental dilemma prevents students from asking for help, especially when it’s needed the most.


3 One in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. While an unpleasant statistic to think about, the number of people affected by mental illness brings to light the lack of conversations we’re having about mental health. Another scary statistic: suicide is the third leading cause of death of youth ages 10-24. While organizations like Active Minds are promoting awareness, as seen last week on South Quad with their “Send Silence Packing” program, the consequences of ignoring mental health are devastating.

4 Anyone can promote positive mental health. Whether it’s utilizing McWell for its restorative spaces, walking around the lakes on campus, or practicing self-care in your dorm, there are many ways to take a few minutes to focus on your mental well-being. Focusing on de-stressing with friends is great too! A movie night is my go-to after a stressful period, so I can enjoy popcorn with friends and watch the newest Netflix releases. If you’re faced with a busy time, even a few minutes of mindfulness can keep you going.


5 There is no shame in reaching out. Whether it’s the stress of exams or the need for socialization, talking to friends is a great way to relax. Sometimes, catching up in the dorm or the dining hall is all you need to remember what’s really important. Having people in your life that you can reach out to are some of the most important resources a person could have. It’s also important to check in with your friends too, as they may be struggling without showing signs or without asking for help.

A huge concern of health professionals is the rising rates of mental health issues observed in college students. As always, McWell and University Counseling Services offer resources to those in need at Notre Dame.


On a much lighter note, I hope you all have a happy and healthy Fall Break.


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