It would be an understatement to say Fisher students have a lot on their plate. From classes and homework, to jobs and job interviews, they can be living in a world of stress. Trying to keep up with these many demands takes a toll mentally. Not surprisingly, mental health issues are an increasing concern for college students
“Mental health is vitally important to living a life worth living,” says Dr. Maryanna Klatt a professor of clinical family medicine at OSU. “We all need to be less self-critical and more self-accepting. The development of positive habits to keep our lives simple and non-toxic is the key. By non-toxic I mean by choosing to be in situations and relationships that help each of us be healthy.”
With so many demands on their time, it is easy for students to neglect important necessities such as sleep and exercise. Mental health is no different; however, the effects of neglecting it are not felt immediately. Mental health problems can go unnoticed for extended periods of time.
The American Psychological Association conducted a survey of university and college counseling center directors. The survey reports anxiety as the top mental health concern with depression and relationship problems as the second and third respectively. Unfortunately, the survey also reported 19 percent of counseling centers claim inadequate availability of services for their students.
Thankfully, Ohio State offers resources for students including Counseling and Consultation Services. Their offices are in the Younkin Success Center on Neil Avenue and in Lincoln Tower. CCS offers therapy in eight languages including Chinese, Korean and Spanish. Students struggling can also seek assistance from the Student Wellness Center, which offers initiatives such as wellness coaching, self-assessments and outreach programs.
“We here at CCS are really committed to helping students as best as they can,” says Dr. Holly Davis, a psychologist at CCS. Davis has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is one of many professionals available to help students. “We all choose to work here because we like working in the college setting.”
Regarding students’ awareness of mental health, Davis is optimistic that, “students are increasingly more aware than they have been in the past.” Davis added that it is important that students are aware of all the services offered. She mentioned lesser known services such as the couples and family therapy clinic and off-campus services. Beyond traditional counseling, CCS also offers workshops, which address a variety of topics including anxiety, perfectionism and stress. All workshops are free and require no prior registration.
As for signs of emerging mental health problems, Davis emphasizes the importance of being vigilant of emerging mental health problems which could manifest in changes in functioning in everyday activities. This can include changes in sleeping and eating habits or social behavior. Mental health problems can also be triggered by major, life-altering events.
Knowing it is acceptable to seek help for mental health is also important. Stigma regarding mental health problems is heavily prevalent. CCS has an initiative to reduce the stigma and believes this can be accomplished by spreading accurate information. For students seeking treatment, Davis advises that, “the sooner, the better”.
“College can be a very stressful environment,” Davis says. “We’re here and we want to help. I hear all the time from students how hard it is for students to continually compare themselves to others. If there is one gift I would like to give each student for their own mental health is for each see their own beauty and talents.”
For students who are looking to develop these healthy habits, Klatt teaches two undergraduate courses. The first, The Mindful College Student, is a seminar for freshmen. “In order to be the best version of oneself, self-awareness must be given adequate attention. The course utilizes guided meditation and reflective writing to help students reflect upon their ‘performance of self’ to increase awareness and help sculpt their personal and academic lives,” Klatt says.
Her other course, Mindful Resistance: From the Individual to the Organization, is for students further along in their academic careers. “Many Honors students go on to graduate school, and may occupy high powered leadership roles – which are often accompanied by high levels of stress. ‘Burnout’ within high powered careers is not uncommon. As an academic institution, we provide the necessary content-specific skill set for students to become leaders, yet often do not provide the coping skills to flourish within these professions. This course teaches reflection as a way to increase your ability to attend, to be present, both to yourself and others.”