Being a college student can often be stressful and overwhelming, but did you know there are special resources that can help you deal with any mental health issues you might be experiencing? Keep reading to learn about the mental health resources you probably have access to as a community college student.
College Mental Health
Mental health is a very important topic in our country, and it goes without saying that it's something that should be taken seriously at all ages and life stages. This, of course, includes the stage where you attend college, which can be very stressful in itself given everything a college education entails. In fact, a 2016 USA Today report indicates that 49.5% of college students reported feeling hopeless, while 60.5% reported feeling lonely. The report also states that one in 12 college students in the U.S. makes a suicide plan at some point during college. Unfortunately, these statistics reflect a real, widespread problem that plagues our population—mental illness.
That said, mental illness comes in many shapes and forms, with depression and anxiety being some of the top afflictions that community college students struggle with. Other common mental health issues for students include self-harm, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and addiction. If you're experiencing any of these, or are simply just having a rough time, the following community college mental health resources can help.
Personal Counseling Services
When you think of counseling at a community college, you might think of someone helping you choose which career path to embark on or which classes to take. And while academic and career counseling definitely exist, most community college campuses also offer personal counseling services for their students.
These personal counseling services typically have professional licensed counselors on hand to help students work through issues related to mental health, stress management, sexual orientation, grief, and domestic violence. To find out if a community college offers personal counseling, just call or check their website. Or, if you're already enrolled at a school, just visit the student services office. If you find out counseling is available and feel like you need to talk to someone, don't be afraid to set up an appointment as soon as possible.
Campus Health Centers
Almost all community colleges have a health center on campus. If you don't have the chance to set up a counseling appointment or are having an urgent mental health-related (or any other) problem, a visit to your campus health center may be your best bet. Not only can the staff help you immediately by assessing your health's current state and taking action right away if necessary, they can also point you in the right direction for future help (e.g., your school's counseling office, support groups, etc.) and give you tips that can help you better manage your mental health.
Peer Support Groups
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), students often forego seeking help for mental health issues because they're worried that their professors and peers will think negatively of them. To combat this, many colleges nowadays offer peer support groups and 'safe spaces' where students can come together to talk about their struggles without being harshly judged.
NAMI On Campus is just one example of a program that encourages students to create student-led mental health clubs on college campuses. These clubs help to raise awareness of mental health, educate students and faculty, and push for better mental health services.
Maybe your community college already has a club like this, or maybe it doesn't. If not, perhaps you should consider starting one. You might be surprised to see all of the other students going through hard times like you!
Mental Health Initiatives
There are also some college-focused mental health initiatives worth mentioning here. First, the California Community Colleges System has implemented the California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program, which is an initiative that focuses on boosting mental health awareness, educating the students and faculty of California's 114 community colleges, and improving mental health outcomes for all.
Additionally, the American Psychological Association is a well-known student mental health advocate and has created programs for college students under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which was enacted in 2004 after its namesake committed suicide. These programs aim to spread awareness, better address the mental health needs of young people, and prevent suicide.
Although all of these resources can greatly help if you're experiencing mental health issues in community college, they might not be available to you at all times. If you're ever having trouble and need to talk to someone right away, you always have access to several 24/7 hotlines that can help you immediately. Also, if you're having an emergency that you can't deal with on your own, don't ever hesitate to dial 911.
If you would like to further educate yourself on mental health and the issues surrounding it, be sure to check out Study.com's vast selection of mental health lessons.