Universities need to do better in addressing mental health issues

It’s common knowledge that in order to stay healthy physically, one has to take the proper measures. We go to the gym regularly, try to eat a balance diet, and when we feel like something isn’t quite right, a trip to the doctor’s office is in order.

But with all of the emphasis being placed on the importance of physical health in schools all over the country, has the importance of maintaining mental health fallen to the wayside?

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15-24. Even more startling is the fact that according to the NIH, it is estimated that 1 in 10 college students have contemplated suicide.

There are a lot of reasons why college students may face an array of mental health issues, ones that they may have never encountered before college. Major life changes occur during the four years of college, including moving away from home, breaking up with first loves, and navigating through new friendships, and career decisions.

Feelings of uncertainty can unquestionably become overwhelming, even for the most mature and organized student. It is almost impossible to not feel that way when there are such unknown factors in life, such as the insecurity of a getting a job after graduation.

It’s also the first time in many students’ lives when they are on their own for the first time and have to cope with feelings of rejection, stress, and responsibility in situations that can’t be taught.

When students finally realize that they are depressed, many aren’t sure where to turn for help. Many are afraid that if they do come forward with their feelings, there will be a stigma attached for seeking help. This is because topics of mental health are not the most popular subjects for discussion, and can be seen as taboo in many cases.
No one wants to admit that they are having trouble living everyday life because it seems like a sign of weakness, and as young adults, we’re supposed to just suck it up and get through it.

With the six recent student suicides at Cornell University, now more than ever, universities need to stress the importance of addressing the mental health
needs of students.

What needs to be improved is helping students to understand the symptoms and signs of depression, before they start to have serious problems or behaviors. Just as organizations offer health fairs monitoring people’s BMI and cholesterol, colleges should become more active in getting out the facts of mental health ailments, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Students know that there are resources available to help people who are dealing with depression and mental health issues.
The problem is that they are not sure if they are one of these people, and what will happen to them if they choose to seek aid. By shedding light on the symptoms of mental health problems, students will no longer feel like they are abnormal or weak for feeling this way.

Like seeking help for a physical illness, mental health treatment should be accessible and understood by all college
students who require it.