What is Mental Health?
When you hear the word “mental health,” what comes to mind? Is it the last part of the word — the word mental — that gives you the shivers and the will to scream? Does it make you feel stressed and ill? Does it make you want to bang your head against a wall, or is it the second part, the word mental health, that calms you and forces you to think calmly about your existence and your place in the world? Is it the word mental health that makes you think, “Wow! It’s been a really long time since I’ve thought about this, I should probably check in.”
In that case, the word mental health is completely enough to calm you.
Why is mental health important?
In the last month, I’ve gotten into several arguments with people that started with, “you’re stupid, why are you even thinking about this?” If you’re feeling blue, or anything out of the ordinary, you’re allowed to ask yourself if you’re experiencing something out of the ordinary. If not, the best way to get through the storm is to ask others for help. If you don’t, you’re a waste of space. A lot of people want to know how to keep it a secret from the world, but the only thing that’s worse than the stigma, is if nobody knows what to do for you.
Resources for Mental Health
Where to Get Help
The stigma around mental health remains widespread, and is often negative and stigmatizing. Young adults are afraid of mental health issues being pointed out to them, so they don’t seek help for what they’re feeling.
They believe that depression, anxiety, or other conditions are a sign of weakness. So they often wait it out.
If you feel like you might need help, there are many resources available. Most universities have a counseling center or some form of a student health center. These are usually free of charge, and have good rates for students to consult with licensed professionals.
Even if the university doesn’t have these services, there are free apps for your phone that allow you to message a therapist on a recurring basis.
Spending time on the web searching for answers is just the first step. Once you have searched, you need to educate yourself so you have the knowledge to act appropriately and effectively. This can be a daunting task, but it is important and worthwhile. If you have the interest to learn, I recommend completing the following resources. It will take the time and effort it takes to gather the right info, but it will be worth it in the end.
Finding a therapist
Finding a therapist is a bit different than trying to find a therapist or a psychiatrist, which will generally be a fairly comprehensive process.
Most students will likely have to rely on professional counselors provided by their schools. Additionally, they can ask friends, but depending on their tolerance levels, a certain amount of awkwardness is bound to accompany the question.
Some counselors will probably see a reasonable number of students, while others may only see a handful. Thus, if you want to make sure you get in with the right person, you should be flexible and opt for a lot of phone calls.
Talk to Your Parents
Of course, your parents won’t have access to mental health resources, nor will they be able to diagnose anything.
Finding a psychologist
Finding a therapist
You know that building at the very back of your student’s college campus with a sign in the front advertising “Psychologists”? Well, this is the place where I finally tracked down one for my daughter. She had been going to my pediatrician, who referred her to the university psychologists, who referred her to me.
And now, even though she’s not at the school anymore, she’s still using her psychologist for a little extra guidance when life gets particularly challenging. This is a huge benefit, given that private therapy can run into the hundreds of dollars. Public psychological services are far cheaper, though they may come with restrictions.