By Cassidy Martenson
Many college students face battles beyond the confines of the classroom on a daily basis. It is important to understand that these battles are worthy of attention, and that no one is truly alone in their struggles. As mental illness becomes represented and accepted among young adults, it must be made clear that it is okay to ask for help.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has demonstrated in recent years 50% of college students rated their mental health as below average or poor. However, 40% of these students fail to seek help from a professional.
According to Kevin Griffith, Director of the Student Counseling Center at IU South Bend, “When someone lives with a mental health issue, it is no different than living with any other physical health issue.”
There is no shame in going to the hospital for a broken arm, and there is no shame in seeking counseling for a mental battle.
The IU South Bend Student Counseling Center is a safe place for students to discuss their mental health and daily struggles. The counseling center offers completely confidential services to students free of charge. They also provide support services for a variety of personal and emotional issues, such as life skills and personal development workshops.
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, counseling services have been moved fully online through Zoom. However, this has not limited student access to these mental health services. According to Griffith, “Students are accessing us at a higher rate, with an increase of 11% in student appointments.”
This rise in student appointments is not shocking due to recent studies showing that mental illness among college students has been on the rise since the beginning of the pandemic. Not only can school be a major stressor, but it is clear that everyone has their own personal struggles outside of school.
The Student Counseling Center understands that IU South Bend students often have a lot on their plates. Whether they are balancing work and school, supporting a family, or simply getting through their own personal struggles, it is important to acknowledge that everyone has different needs. If the Student Counseling Center believes that they are not the best resource, they will provide a list of affordable options within the community.
Students are encouraged to contact the Student Counseling Center if they are concerned for a friend or loved one. While they cannot contact the individual due to confidentiality laws, they can offer advice about reaching out to the friend and making them aware of their resources. The counseling center also offers classroom training to faculty and staff, and they meet with student groups to discuss mental health awareness. Students with an interest in learning more are encouraged to join the Active Minds organization on campus which promotes mental health awareness and education.
To schedule a Zoom telecounseling appointment please call 574-520-4125. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency or require immediate assistance, please call 911.
It is okay to ask for help.