Why Acknowledging Mental Health Is Important

Location: 
New York, NY
United States
US

Everyone has different goals to accomplish during their new phase in life as a college student. This includes talking about your feelings to someone other than your best friend or updating your journal.

Many people seek therapy for certain addictions, disorders, trauma, or even stress. Whichever your concern, the campus counseling center is a safe place for you to vent and even receive treatment.

In all honesty, it takes a lot of courage to be willing to confide in someone you have yet to meet. Considering other factors, seeking out a therapist is a step that can be scary. Personally, I was looking forward to seeking professional guidance myself but, it was hard to acknowledge that it may be necessary to consider being evaluated.

My first concern was if my friends and family would judge me for any habit or coping mechanism that they can’t relate to. Especially, when the stigma surrounding mental health is so paraded. As a result, it makes it uncomfortable and difficult for people going through psychological issues to want to address them.  

Making the choice to seek help is a bold move I am happy I made. I highly encourage those who feel they are struggling to do so as well.

Here are a few things to look forward to when visiting your school's counseling center:

·      They are very welcoming!

You don’t have to say much to the front desk assistant, but that you wish to speak with a counselor. They will ask if it’s an emergency, and if not, you will have to wait for an available appointment. They will also try their best to make you feel comfortable.

·      Be prepared to take a screening test

 There’s no right or wrong, just a questionnaire about yourself that will be evaluated before your first meeting. The test may vary per campus, but it is usually composed of general mental health questions.

·      It is confidential

Unless given certain circumstances, which will be discussed with the counselor, everything discussed stay between you two.

·      Expect an email from your assigned counselor

This is very important before beginning counseling because it will provide you with information about your counselor and mutual meeting times. It is nice to know who you will be sitting across from beforehand so, look forward to your counselor reaching out a week or two before your first session.

 

Here a few things to expect after beginning counseling:

·      You may not automatically feel better, and that is totally okay.

It took me until the second meeting to open up completely. Give yourself time, it is up to you how much you want to share and when you want to do so. It’s okay to take your time or cut straight to the point.

·      You have the option to stay with the counselor on campus or see another in the area

This is usually offered various times at the beginning of counseling, but you have the ability to change this preference during the duration of your meeting schedule. There may be some changes to the policy if choosing to accept the outside resource.

·      Seeing a Psychiatrist is possible

Depending on the situation(s), you will be given at most, four weeks to have your initial meetings with a campus counselor. If you choose to do so, you will qualify to be psychiatrically evaluated for further treatment.

 

Here are the reasons it is completely okay to seek help:

·      Your feelings are valid

There is no one that can understand your emotions as well as you can. Give yourself credit for your feelings, it is a wholesome thing to be in touch with yourself and that does not mean you are selfish. You will not be shamed for them!

·      You deserve to be listened to

Being strong is a great responsibility and it can become a coping mechanism to ignore personal problems so, enabling yourself to vent is truly relieving. Being strong for yourself is the most loving thing you can do and will encourage progress.

·      People do care about your well being

When you’re used to having your mental health neglected, it is very difficult to accept the fact that there are others who want to help. It is hard to deal with certain things alone, but there are people who are concerned with your overall wellbeing. Seeking professional help is a great way to start.

Remember, you are strong and loved! Seeking help does not make you flawed, instead, it empowers you and encourages you to become a better version of yourself that is defined by all of the amazing traits that make you, you!