One out of every four college students suffer from depression, counseling center offers help
One out of every four college students or adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness.
According to The Jed Foundation, a charitable organization that aims to reduce suicide and improve mental health for college students, the average onset for mental health conditions is between 18 and 24 years old.
The on-campus Counseling Center, located in Foust 102, is free to students suffering symptoms of a mental illness.
Counseling Center Director Ross Rapaport said 983 students took advantage of the counseling center’s services between summer of 2011 and spring of 2012. There was a total of 4,092 individual counseling sessions.
For freshman students, there is a tendency to feel homesick and a case of anxiety when trying to adapt to the new lifestyle that comes along with college.
But the worries or signs of depression don’t always come to a halt after freshman year.
“I’m scared to leave,” fifth-year senior Meghan Schemanske said. “At first, coming to the dorms was so new and intimidating that it was uncomfortable, but I have gotten so comfortable. I know what I’m doing every Friday night, and Mount Pleasant has become my second home.”
The Westland native said she has had plenty of experiences of struggle with depression and anxiety while trying to reach graduation.
“Sometimes it’s scary to think that that you’re not good enough because we’re honestly creating our whole lives here,” Schemanske said.
Freshman Kara Harris said the closeness of her hometown, Midland, has eased the amount of homesickness she has dealt with.
“A lot of people feel trapped up here without their cars if their true home is far away,” she said. “I’m lucky enough to get the big campus vibe but still able to see my family or get something from home quickly since I’m so close.”
The Counseling Center can help students overcome these feelings of depression related to being on campus.
“They can come on down and set up an appointment to meet with our counselors and work through their issues. Our staff is all trained and they can refer to someone else if needed,” said Cori Miller, a graduate office assistant.
Miller said many students suffer from depression and anxiety, but some might be too embarrassed or scared to say anything.
“Some things to look for that are common in students are loss of appetite, an inability to sleep and changes in mood,” the Menominee native said.
Schemanske said she has visited the Counseling Center before and would highly recommend it to students who may be feeling depression or anxiety.
“They don’t know your friends or family, they are completely neutral in your situations. Sometimes you just need to talk and they will listen,” she said. “They literally let you talk about anything, and they can’t repeat it. It’s overall a really positive experience, and it’s normal to need counseling. Even the best psychiatrist needs a counselor sometimes.”
Although Rapaport said it’s too soon to tell if there’s been an increase in sessions this semester, he said it is at an average pace against previous years.
“It takes a lot of strength and courage to seek help if one needs it,” he said. “If a student wants to see a counselor, they just have to set up an appointment, but we also have urgent appointments available everyday.”
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