Elm Editorial on Mental Health

Throughout this past year, The Elm has run many articles that deal with mental health.

For an article last semester, Dr. Miranda Altman, director of Counseling Services, explained that mental health is a continuum.

“[Students] can engage with Counseling Services as often as needed,” she said. “There’s no stigma. We don’t want you to feel stigmatized. Whatever you’re struggling with is acceptable and we can help manage it.”

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four students has a diagnosable mental illness, and 40 percent do not seek help. Depression affects 6.9 percent (or 16 million people) of the population and just over 18 percent (or 42 million people) of the population live with anxiety. Eighty percent of those students diagnosed with a mental illness feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

There are physical, emotional, and thinking symptoms for depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Physical symptoms include changes in sleeping habits (either sleeping more or having difficulty sleeping) and appetite changes (including loss of appetite or overeating). Emotional symptoms include sadness, a feeling of being overwhelmed, a feeling of hopelessness, and a feeling of powerlessness. Thinking symptoms can involve having trouble concentrating and paying attention, as well as having difficulty in reading and completing tasks.

Even if you are not diagnosed with depression, these feelings may certainly still resonate with you. If that is the case, students should reach out for support.

Students can access Counseling Services by calling 410-778-7261 or email Vickie Anderson at vanderson2@washcoll.edu to schedule an appointment. The department is located in Queen Anne House and is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1-4:30 p.m.

Students can also reach out to the Department of Public Safety (410-778-7810) and the Chestertown Police Department (410-778-1800) if they need someone to talk to.

Trusted faculty and staff, as well as Resident Assistants and peer mentors, are also helpful resources should a student need to talk to someone.

If a friend has confided in you, you can also reach out to the above resources. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a positive resource for someone who needs to talk about their own experience, or a friend’s. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. For those with hearing impairments, their website (suicidepreventionlifeline.org) provides a chat option. Spanish speaking individuals can call 1-888-628-9454.

The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone and you can always talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to reach out, no matter how large or small the situation or problem may be.

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