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Column: Students, staff needs to be educated on mental health issues

When you read something about what’s going on with mental health do you skip it? I feel like it’s hard for people to talk about mental health or grasp the fact that college students are dealing with it on a daily basis. I definitely know my fellow students and I need to be educated about mental health and the signs of it.  The signs may include hurting or killing themselves, feeling hopeless or trapped, feeling like they have no reason to live and feeling like a burden to others. Also, an increase in drinking and drug use can be a sign. 

I deal with mental health from social anxiety, self-esteem and depression. If you feel overwhelmed, I can say I’m in a better place and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I also have several family members who deal with severe anxiety as college students who struggle with balancing work, staying fit and  studying.

When mental health week kicked off last week, it was important for students to know more about dealing with a mental health illness and that it’s OK to get help. You shouldn’t  feel ashamed for having one. TJC had several events regrading mental health, icluding Josh Rivedal who spoke about mental health and suicide prevention and yoga on the lawn. On Oct. 10, TJC held Pet a Pooch that let students who felt stressed out come to the library and pet a dog, and who doesn’t love puppies or dogs! 

An article on safecolleges.com explains, “the mental health stigma is a grave concern on campus because it can prevent students from receiving the care they may need.”  The article says “suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students.” According to safecolleges.com, 1,000 students take their lives each year on college campuses.

Colleges need more information about mental health like posters and workshops on how to deal with mental health which should provide advice on them. I know that colleges need more than one counselor to help students who are dealing with mental health illness and just need a place to go and talk.  According to safecolleges.com, “80- 90 % of college students who die by suicide were not receiving help from college counseling center.” At TJC counseling services are available.

Suicide is an important concern for colleges and universities around the United States, so they need to know how to label the issue and go over what resources are available.

Here are some points from safecolleges.com to reduce the stigma of suicide on our campus. 

1. Give the campus a forum to get insight for students and faculty on mental health and suicide issues at the school.

 2. Instruct the students, faculty and  staff on mental health awareness, suicide prevention and the warning signs.

 3. Colleges need to assist healthy studying and learning through the stressful times on campus, such as exam week.

 4. Recruit a professional and experienced mental health staff for our campus to be the supporter for the students who are fighting with mental illness. 

5. Motivate students who are dealing with mental health to go after help or to speak to their friend or a member of the college if they know they might be suffering from mental illness or thinking about hurting themselves. 

As a student, I would want to know there’s someone to talk to about my struggles and what is available on campus to help. Remember, you are not alone with this, and you can get help and fight through it. The national suicide prevention hotline is: 1-800-273-8255

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