Through bleary eyes, she peers at the scattered pile of books on her desk—the Fundamentals of Nursing textbook seems to glare back at her, as if rearing for another round of frustrating study questions and concepts. Stress is in her dark under-eye circles, the loose spine of her planner, the overflowing basket of laundry in the corner.
She is drowning. As teachers and parents continually tell her to just keep treading water, she just can’t seem to stay afloat.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 40 percent of college students have felt more than an average amount of stress in the past 12 months.
It’s often mind-boggling for most of us to process the idea of someone going through deep personal issues among the whirlwind of tests and deadlines we face each semester.
Such was the case for one student on campus, who requested to remain anonymous. When faced with a death in the family as well as the loss of a relationship all within the span of a week last year, she sought out counseling services at the Center for Health and Wellness on campus.
She called and scheduled an appointment for the next available day. Upon arriving, she was told her name was not on the list. Assuming it was just a simple mistake, she scheduled another appointment with the reception for a later date. Upon arriving for the new appointment, she was again told that her name was not on the list. With the semester nearly ended, she made a choice to not reschedule and didn’t think anything of it.
When the same thing happened this school year, she voiced her concern to the Center for Health and Wellness.
“It seemed that my mental health had been looked over,” she said.
The center, changing their tune, finally got her in to see a psychologist. The appointment made her feel better about her situation and she was looking forward to a follow-up appointment.
However, she received a call from a receptionist saying that the psychologist would no longer be available for the appointment she had scheduled weeks beforehand. When she asked about rescheduling, the receptionist replied, “Do you really need to see her?”
The student found this to be harsh, sort of a nicer way of saying, “Suck it up, you’ll be fine.”
While the student didn’t find fault in the quality of the services themselves, she thinks the scheduling with the center is still a huge issue.
“It’s just hard having 18 credit hours, doing extracurriculars and trying to have a social life,” she said. “You’d think they of all people would be flexible enough to work around student schedules instead of their own.”
Another Capital student, who requested to remain anonymous as well, also sought out services with The Center for Health and Wellness this year. After ending a long-term relationship and dealing with increased homework load, she wanted to try counseling.
For her, scheduling was easier. While the offices at the center told her that they are busy this time of year, she was able to get in for an appointment by booking a few weeks in advance.
With scheduling in advance, you are more easily able to be considered a regular and will ensure many future appointments.
The student felt that the counseling services were non-judgmental and open, and that her counselor was helpful in giving feedback on how to cope on her own.
She was surprised by the fact that services are free when they do so much for her, and continues to go to counseling now.
“I would really recommend it to anyone who feels like they can’t handle things on their own anymore, it’s helped me so much,” she said.
While scheduling an appointment may go better for some than others, there is no question that there is a huge demand on the Center for Health and Wellness. While they may be getting busier during more stressful times in the school year, the services must compensate for their influx of students in order to truly promote mental health on campus.