Mental Health at Campus and Beyond

October is considered the month of mental health awareness. With every passing year we feel like we’re doing enough for mental health, but the question is, are we really?

According to a survey conducted by Emory College, one in ten students have made a plan for suicide. We still fail to acknowledge mental health. We think suicidal thoughts are an attention seeking stunt and then label suicide as a tragedy.

“There is a general stigma attached to Mental health, people see it as a weakness to not being strong enough to do it. Therefore they don’t want to admit to a weakness and that creates the stigma. Then on the top of that comes culture, Some cultures are open towards mental health and for some the concept doesn’t exist. We need to understand that it is okay not to be okay,” Perry Chen, a full time counselor at Skyline College said.

“If you have a broken leg, you’re not gonna hesitate and say okay guys I will see a doctor but if some body has anxiety or depression we don’t talk about it,” he continued.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America showed in a survey that 80 percent of students report that they feel stress on daily basis but only 5 percent of them seek help.

According to Perry Chen, reaching out is important. He believes connecting is the key.

“We all get sad but when it starts interfering with our lives in a functional way that is when It’s time we get some help,” Chen said. This is where we as individuals step in. We need to take time out and genuinely ask people if they are doing okay. It is necessary that we understand the power of relationships with friends and family as compared to a therapist. Simply talking to your loved ones can reduce your stress level and improve your mood.

Habiba Sultan, Business Major Student

“Mental health needs the same care as we give to our physical health. At work place it is very normal that due to tight deadlines and busy schedule we don’t get enough time to think about our mental health which affects our physical health as well. I worked in the Finance department for a multinational company for more than two years and it was really tough to be in the office every day with a fresh mind and energy. To deal with stress, I joined a self-defense class after office hours. It helped me to be more productive and mentally ready to start a fresh day and to be positive. Other than this on weekends, I joined a community based organization where I volunteered. Meeting new people, going for hikes, arranging activities for elderly people and for the kids of Age 6 to 15. All these activities helped me just not to focus on the personal problems and workplace issues but to live every moment happily and courageously. Helping others makes us feel strong and makes us feel accomplished.”

Shannon D Hoang, Political Science

“For around five years I have struggled with anxiety and depression which has a tendency of flaring up when I feel like outside pressures are caving in. I understand that the words anxious and depressed are often used in a way that implies that someone is mildly stressed, however i hope the people acknowledge the darker side of this mental illness,” Shannon D Hoang, a Political Science student said.

“I personally “dealt” with depression by attempting to distract myself which tends to have a bad connotation, but I think of it as trying to find my purpose amongst other random activities. As a small Asian American woman, this translated to joining the wrestling team… No I did not find my purpose in wrestling, I just dislocated my thumb amongst other injuries, but this was the start of my journey to getting better. I actually didn’t reach out for help till much later simply because I felt undeserving of professional guidance so I unknowingly placed that responsibility to my friends and family. In short, this didn’t work out and after a couple years I realized that I not only deserve help, I owe it to myself to do whatever it takes to reach stability,” Hoang said.

In the modern day of 150 characters let’s take some time out for the people we love before it’s too late. If you’ve been staring at a screen all day, try taking a tech-free lunch break. Put your phone down for 15 minutes and go out for a walk.