Stigma Attached to Mental Health Inhibits Students

Photo Courtesy of Maarten, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s that time again: midterm week is upon us. The semester has flown by and many of us are catching ourselves dazed and confused as to everything we have learned so far. As we approach these frustrating exams and assignments, there will be many students who develop a type of mental health problem that will affect their educational performance.

Unfortunately, because of fear and embarrassment due to the social stigma associated with mental health issues, college students choose to ignore the problem in hopes that it will naturally go away. In any situation, avoiding mental health obstacles that you come across will eventually suck you deeper into the problem, increasing dangers of more severe mental illnesses.

Before being faced with it myself, it did not occur to me that your mental health is the foundation to living a healthy lifestyle. When I was an incoming freshman, the increase of stress and anxiety suffocated me to the point of depression-like tendencies and I was scared to get help. It always appeared to me that seeking a counselor was for people who were going insane or suffered severe traumatic experiences.

I felt like I had a minor problem and that as time went by I would grow out of it. That’s where I went wrong. I ignored the severity of my mental health until it subconsciously began to affect the rest of my life.

As much as I denied it to myself, my friends started to notice that I was losing interest in my goals and that I developed the negative mentality of inevitable disappointment. They later recommended that I see a guidance councilor.

The best decision that I’ve made as a college student was to let go of my ego and reach out for the help that I needed.

Mental health issues have increased yearly, and according to the latest survey by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors the number of students with significant psychological problems is a growing concern on campuses. The college student’s mental health is an ongoing issue because of the stigma regarding mental illnesses.

The growth of stress, anxiety and depression disorders during students’ time in college is linked to both academic and non-academic pressures. For many college students, the stress comes from the combination of trying to be academically successful, maintain personal relationships, work, visit family and handle other major life transitions that burden college students.

As a college community, we must become more knowledgeable of what it means to suffer a mental health issue and no longer be afraid to seek help. Pursuing psychological and emotional support at an early stage of any mental health matter can decrease the risk of the issue worsening and increase the chances of having a faster recovery process.      

If you or anyone you know might be at a slight risk of a possible mental health problem it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.

Ramapo College provides a counseling service located in room D-216. The counseling service recognizes that there are many challenges that accompany a student in college, and offers confidential appointments to discuss any concerns with a counselor. Their mission emphasizes helping students reach their educational goals and make healthy lifestyle choices that promote emotional stability and psychological well-being.

An online mental health screening can be found on their website, along with their service hours and directions on what to do in an emergency. To schedule a consultation or an appoint please call (201) 684-7522, or stop by D-216 to schedule an appointment with the receptionist.

It is extremely important to know that you are never alone in any situation you may be faced with. Having a positive outlook on what the future holds for you is the first step to an efficacious recovery. With an optimistic mindset and by surrounding yourself with encouraging people, the road to success is closer than you think.