Mental health support on campus for bouncing back after fall break

By Grace Hogsten

Copy Editor

As the semester progresses, many students feel overwhelmed or stressed by a variety of concerns including busy schedules, upcoming exams, difficult social situations, and dreary fall weather. When a person is experiencing poor mental health, they can feel isolated and may not know how to address the issue.

“I think…a misconception is that if you seek help, you are seen as weak, but it takes such strength to take care of yourself,” Clinical Counselor Eboni Taylor-Tue ‘97 said.

Students struggling with mental health concerns may feel that their problems are not as important as physical health issues and thus do not need to be addressed. However, mental health treatment is vital to overall wellness.

“If you have a toothache, you will go to the dentist…[if] you have a mental health issue, the same [principle] should apply,” Taylor-Tue said. “See a counselor, therapist, or any other healthcare professional.”

Though many students experiencing mental health issues may feel isolated and believe that there is no way to address their mental health, Washington College has a mental health advocacy and support community of both students and staff who are ready to help.

“There are many people on our campus who care and who want to hear what you have to say,” Psychology Professor Dr. Lauren Littlefield said.

One helpful resource is counseling through the health center, located on the first floor of Queen Anne’s House. The College offers free one-on-one counseling services where students can meet with one of WC’s three clinical counselors to address mental health concerns, according to Clinical Counselor Kat Ralfs.

For students who are looking for a less formal, virtual resource, the College offers services on a platform called Mantra Health. According to Ralfs, students can access free resources on the platform and attend virtual counseling sessions. WC covers up to six Mantra Health appointments.

The College also has a student-led mental health advocacy group called WAC Squared, which can provide support in a casual setting through trained peer wellness advocacy coaches.

“Although we are not professionals, we are mental health first aid trained and meant to give more approachable support,” Wellness Advocacy Coach senior Dori McMenamin said. “A lot of the issues students deal with are very common and it helps that Wellness Coaches are students too and may have experienced similar issues. Sometimes students don’t feel like they have a big enough issue to get therapy for, but no problem is too small.”

During the business of the school year, some may ignore symptoms of waning mental health, but addressing these smaller issues is vital to maintaining personal health and wellness.

“The biggest barrier to seeking help is our busy lives. A common reaction for all people is to have a minor issue and wait for it to go away,” Dr. Littlefield said. “However, if we ignore minor issues, they sometimes turn into more significant challenges and those are harder to recover from.”

Often, our mental health struggles feel too personal or unimportant to address. Nevertheless, seeking support and community is rewarding, and there are many people on campus who are ready to help.

Photo by Riley Dauber.

Photo Caption: Students can meet with one of three therapists at the on-campus Counseling Center, located at Queen Anne’s House.

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