Although the United States has grown more aware of mental health in recent years, the issue still tends to be swept under the rug. Oct. 7-13 is Mental Health Awareness Week, stimulating conversations about issues pertinent to University of Georgia students.
Depression in college students is not something that should be taken lightly. Many college students develop depression from stressors such as the college workload, relationship issues or financial struggles. In the U.S., 8.3 percent of 18-25 years have had serious thoughts of suicide, which is the second leading cause of death among this age group, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
For some students, being away from home and their high school friends may make them feel like they are alone in their struggles. Talk therapy can be helpful for some students dealing with depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses. At the UGA’s University Health Center, students are able to make an appointment for counseling through the Counseling and Psychiatric Services at UGA. Students who are eligible to use the UHC and have paid their student health fee may receive CAPS services at a reduced cost.
Ivan Campbell, a second year psychology major from Athens, started going to CAPS over the summer. It was easy for him to make an appointment.
“I went in there halfway through the summer because I wanted to have a fresh start at UGA,” Campbell said. “I had a lot of issues with confidence, anxiety and self-esteem. My counselor was one of the clinical psychology grad students, and she was very helpful. I really think that she helped me out by making me realize that I could help myself, and that I wasn’t the worst person ever.”
Students can make an appointment with CAPS online or by calling the UHC. For their first screening appointment, the appointment is free and students are assessed to see what plan of treatment is best for them. If a counselor thinks a student needs more help then CAPS can provide, they may refer the student to another on-campus or a off-campus counseling service.
Other counseling options for students include the Center for Counseling and Personal Evaluation in Aderhold. Anyone from the Athens community can take advantage of their services, which include, among others, individual counseling, couples and family counseling and addressing learning disabilities. The fees are based off of the sliding scale.
The ASPIRE Clinic in the UGA McPhaul Center is another on-campus counseling resource. The clinic is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 9 a.m.-4 p.m Fridays. They offer a wide range of counseling services from individual and couple services to nutrition counseling.
However, if you or someone you know needs urgent help and unable to make a counseling appointment, call the Suicide Prevention hotline and the Sexual Assault 24 hour hotline, available for use by anyone in need. People can reach the UHC crisis hotline at 706-542-2200, and the Sexual Assault 24 hour hotline at 706-542-SAFE.
College can feel overwhelming, but UGA has numerous resources to help students feel better and do well in school.
“I know that you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to, and that’s OK,” Campbell said.
Campbell agreed mental health awareness is important year-long.
“You can’t be productive if you’re not happy, so it’s in your best interest to be happy,” Campbell said.