College Students and Mental Health

Western students talk about their struggles with anxiety and depression.

Nick Tarling / Staff Writer

“I tell myself in my head that it is going to pass and to just stay calm,” said one Western student when asked about how anxiety affects them. A 2008 Associated Press survey found that 80 percent of post-secondary students frequently experience everyday stress, and 13 percent have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression.

As the world in general has become more open and honest regarding mental health over the last few decades, colleges across the country have done their best to combat these issues. On-campus counseling services have become more prevalent as more and more light gets shed on the personal problems that college students continue to face. Western, for example, gives the opportunity for students to take seven free counseling sessions at the Campus Health Center. Whether dealing with a mental illness or personal issues like grief, stress, and homesickness, the counselors are here to assist you.

Despite these efforts by universities to make counseling services readily available, the National Alliance on Mental Illness states that 40% of college students who experience stress and anxiety don’t seek help. When asked if they had ever thought about doing counseling, the Western student quoted earlier replied, “not really. I don’t like to burden others with my nonsense.”

Another student who had been referred to the Center for Mental Health in Gunnison by the Campus Health Center spoke about how their depression affected their schoolwork. “Some days I find it hard to get out of bed and go to class, and my grades suffer. When I get in that mindset, I just can’t find the motivation to get any of my work done.” Despite this lack of motivation, the student attends therapy once a week at the Center for Mental Health, and is hopeful that eventually they will find some relief from their depression.

If you’re dealing with anxiety, depression, or any stressful personal matters, the most important thing you can do is reach out for help. Listed below are contact information for various outlets on and off campus that can, and want to, help you get better.

Campus Counseling Center: 970-642-4615

Emergency/after-hours number: 970-252-6220

Gunnison Center for Mental Health: 970-641-0229

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255