Prioritizing mental health



Students have five free individual sessions at the counseling center and to schedule an initial assessment appointment.

ABIGAIL SAATHOFF, Opinion Columnist

As students, it’s easy for us to become engulfed in our schoolwork and forget the importance of our own mental health. I’ve watched many fellow students stay up until four in the morning working on a project, study for an exam rather than  attend to their own basic needs, and ignore their friends and family to write a paper. College students constantly forget to put themselves first while in higher education.

Schoolwork is difficult, and for college students, it can be overwhelming, with due dates looming overhead and ridiculously large projects that take hours to complete. The difficulty of schoolwork, matched with being away from home, along with relationships and student organizations, being a student can feel impossible.

According to Active Minds, “39% of students in college experience a significant mental health issue,” a statistic that makes sense when considering the daily lives of college students. Most of these people suffer in silence, throwing themselves into their schoolwork, retreating, etc.

College students’ mental health is alarming. According to a study titled 33 Alarming College Student Mental Health Statistics, “64% of students drop out of college because of mental health problems.” It’s clear that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to the issue, but college remains the main factor contributing to students’ mental decline.

Despite all these struggles from college students, many of them don’t utilize the resources in front of them. At the University of Northern Iowa, students get five free therapy sessions, along with free group therapy and crisis appointments. Student Wellness Services also offer wellness coaching sessions, that are a bit different, but still free.

Even if students know about all of these resources, many of them forget about them, get nervous about utilizing them, don’t recognize the importance of the service or don’t think they need the help.

College doesn’t stop for students, nor do the due dates, projects, papers and  deadlines. We, as students, need to find the little moments to take care of ourselves and utilize the resources around us. Whether it be by listening to a favorite song, going to bed early, putting on a facemask or attending therapy/wellness coaching. This responsibility doesn’t fall on students alone; it falls on friends, family, staff, professors and more to destigmatize mental health, promote the resources and support those who need it.