Students are starting to realize how important it is to acknowledge mental health issues in college freshman.
Over 95% of college counseling centers surveyed by Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors said the number of students with mental health issues is a growing concern on their campus.
There’s a stereotype for students to make everything seem like it’s perfect. Freshmen especially are expected to be bubbly, bouncy and involved in everything on campus. For some, this comes easy, but for others, it’s a struggle.
In the wise words of Isaac Newton, what comes up must come down. There will be times where you’re in a bad headspace– and that’s okay.
Freshmen often feel discouraged to talk about their health because they’re the newest bunch on campus, and it’s no wonder. Balancing school, a part-time job and being involved in clubs, while also being away from home is hard. This could be because of the constant pressure to make friends and fit in.
It’s okay not to be okay. It’s unrealistic to be happy all the time. Over 80 percent of college students felt overwhelmed by something they had to do in the past year, according to a study conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Allow yourself access to the tools that you need to be healthy.
Over half of students with anxiety or mental health don’t seek treatment, according to Active Minds, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness among college students.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone–your professor, your friend or a trained counselor.
What students don’t realize is that being fake and wearing a mask all the time isn’t the right thing to do. Not only is it exhausting for you, but also your friends.
In reality, being honest about your mental health to your friends can lead to a closer, more secure bond between you.
Your friends will be happy to know you reached out to them. They understand you’re trying your hardest and their friendship is unwavering. Allow yourself to be open and talk freely about how you’re feeling.
Furthermore, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your chest and you’ll be ready to tackle a new day.
It’s also important to get enough sleep, eat right and exercise. Be sure to treat yourself. Wake up extra early and stand in the Red Mango line, because you deserve it. Buy yourself that new shirt you’ve been eyeing at Target.
Please know there are organizations that can help you on campus. The Counseling Center can match you with a trained counselor to put you on the path to feeling better.
You are worthy of living. You have accomplished so much in your life, and you are capable of so much.
We, as a university, need to provide greater advocacy, resources and training to decrease the stigma and awkwardness around talking about mental health as a university.
It’s 2020, life isn’t perfect, and it shouldn’t be all the time.