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Thursday, November 15, 2018

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We need to ‘stress’ mental health awareness


UH currently has services in place for those struggling with depression and anxiety. But in comparison to other colleges, there is much room for improvement. | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/ user: Ragesoss

Through the daily struggles of life on campus, one must think “where is the relief?”

Students have a never-ending to-do list. Dealing with upcoming tests, recent breakups and attempting to stay sane seems nearly impossible at times. Juggling through day-to-day events can be physically and mentally exhausting. As a result, anxiety has become prevalent among college students, which is a large concern.

Although UH offers great psychological services, the mental disorder itself isn’t emphasized individually. CAPS offers a “Let’s Talk” program that provides consultations from therapists weekly. Investments can go into implementing an anxiety clinic to further focus on this issue.

Like other college campuses, UH provides help for students who need it. Counseling and Psychological Services promotes mental well-being and agrees that a student’s mental health is important for their personal and academic success.

But is that enough?

According to American Psychological Association, depression and anxiety are ranked as “the most common mental health disorders at college counseling centers.”

Mental health should be more stressed for the well being of students. Mental stability is vital for a student’s academic success and functionality. Research done by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health in 2015 found a 30 percent increase in the average number of students seeking counseling centers.

One in five adults experience a mental health condition during their college years, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. An American College Health Association report “found that 23 percent of students said anxiety hurt their academic performance,” according to an article published in the Houston Chronicle.

In correlation with the high rate of 48.2 percent of anxiety among college students, the percentage of students that deal with depression is 34.5 percent, according to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey.

Hamilton College in New York is taking an initiative to connect students in need of counseling with psychologists and psychiatrists online. Several universities such as Penn State have created a web-based program to help determine how anxious or depressed someone is. These universities have also created a treatment module using cognitive behavioral therapy.

Penn State offers an anxiety clinic, which assesses and treats the entire range of anxiety disorders. Efforts from Penn State on improving their psychological services have helped its students’ stress on mental well-being by helping their initiative evolve.

Virginia Tech has several satellite counseling services for students to reach out to. This makes it effortless for them, as it allows the students to be in a relaxed environment and have a sense of normalcy by stationing them in various areas on campus where they already spend time.

Another great initiative was done by Ohio State as they launched a counseling mobile app to allow students to make appointments, access breathing techniques and contact the clinic during an emergency.

In a similar respect, the University of Texas at Austin introduced an app for self-compassion and gratitude. Texas A&M launched a web service that offers video chatting and workshops comparable to group therapy.

The goal is the same, statewide and national: Find creative ways to help students who need it. With a growing number of students in need of counseling services, colleges that start to create a more tangible way for students to approach their mental well-being would open up a dialogue to emphasize how important mental health is.

Assistant Opinion Editor Laraib Hashmi is a senior journalism major and can be reached at [email protected]

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