By John Plue
College is a time for students to hone their skills and learn new ones. To most, it is a significant change from their previous schooling. This change can be easy for some, and more challenging for others. Either way, this environment can have a tremendous effect on students, be it their physical health, mental health, behavioral health, or a combination of them. According to Statista, “Mental health clinicians at colleges and universities have stated that anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and stress were the leading issues among their college student patients.”
Not to say that college is the reason people are having problems. Robert Hynes, Director of counseling services at Fitchburg State University says that “we’ve seen about a ten-year thread of increasing demand for counseling services.” Hynes also talked about how “academics are challenging for many, interpersonal challenges…[and] financial circumstances are stressful for many,” as a reason to why more students may be going in for services.
Coming to college some of these students are living on their own for the first time. They do not have someone watching over them, making sure they do their work. They are also in charge of buying their own food, books for school, and making payments to their college.
According to Statista in Fall 2017, 38 percent of college students rated their health as very good, and 15.6 percent rated theirs as either fair or poor. On the website for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it says “during college students experience many firsts … students may struggle if they can’t manage these firsts. If students aren’t prepared to cope, they can become easily susceptible to depression and anxiety.”
There is a stigma that surrounds mental health and counseling that has been around for a long time. However, since there is an increase in demand for counseling service Fitchburg State has taken steps to accommodate this demand. Hynes says “we manage caseloads carefully and have put in some additional counseling capacity in recent years.”
There are many resources everywhere for those who are seeking help or are just looking for someone to talk to.
Fitchburg State University counseling services are open Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and to make an appointment stop by the office or call at 978-665-3152.