Alena Thomas" />
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Monday, December 11, 2023


When it comes to mental health, there’s no shame in reaching out

A student, looking exhausted with mental health struggles, sits at a table with their face on the table surface

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

At UH, students are told to strive for greatness and to be our best selves. But in the pursuit of our best selves, it can be easy to ignore potential mental health crises forming.

It may be hard, but knowing the warning signs and seeking help when needed is so much more important than grades will ever be.

While Counseling and Psychological Services has been criticized in the past, some students say they  have greatly improved their outreach and capacity this semester. The presence of mental health administrators all over campus has made getting help easier than ever before.

“I’ve seen that CAPS has been majorly pressing their mental health care options and programs to students lately,” said psychology freshman Dy’mond Reyon Spencer. “They’ve done a great job of making sure students know where to go and who to go to.”

Mental illness is not a joke. Life is unpredictable, and there’s no shame in getting help, especially when conflicting circumstances appear from out of nowhere. As tough as these situations can be, sometimes they provide the extra “nudge” needed to get real help.

Unfortunately, angry or anxious thoughts can affect anyone, no matter how calm they might seem on the surface. It’s important not to just suck it up because dwelling on these feelings can frequently make them worse, sometimes even resulting in serious consequences.

Refusing help when you need it can result in existing mental health conditions getting worse or you committing actions you might regret later. As anxiety builds, you might fall behind on assignments or lash out at your peers.

The most important thing you can do in situations like this is to avoid the cycle of shame that keeps people from getting help. Life has a way of causing us to fall flat on our face, but figuring out how to bounce back is what makes us human.

It might sound like a cliche, but there really are people available that want to help you get better. Study after study has shown the effectiveness of mental health services like UH has on campus, and the University even offers some of them for free.

It can be tempting to just deal with mental health in your own way because “that’s what’s always worked for me.” But trying to handle something as complex as mental health on your own doesn’t work in the end because good mental health needs good foundations.

Trying to fix it yourself is less like standing on concrete and more like standing on sand; trying to step out of it while constantly sinking can result in you just sinking again.

It’s understandable to have mixed feelings about services like CAPS. They’re far from perfect, but something is better than nothing.

Emotions and feelings aren’t just something to ignore; they hold real power. Reaching out can keep you or others close to you from getting seriously hurt.

As we head into the holiday season, remember: you matter, and now is a better time than ever to get help if you genuinely need it.

Alena Thomas is a history sophomore who can be reached at
[email protected]

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