Mental health for college students is a silent burden that many carry, and faculty at College of the Canyons are trying their best to help their students through it.
Between a full course load, jobs and the need to have a social life, college students can become depressed or overworked very easily. These issues build up over time and can bring a person to one of the darkest places anyone can be; suicide.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24 and the second leading cause for those ages 25 to 34. In the United States, one in ten college students will attempt suicide according to Emory University’s suicide statistics.
College of the Canyons is no stranger to the mental strain college can put on students. In 2015, three COC students took their own lives. Because of this, the school has enhanced their ways to help combat these problems.
The Student Health and Wellness Center, located in the student center next to the computer lab(,) is one of these ways. Their mental health program, overseen by Larry Schallert, can set up personal counselling sessions that can help students overcome their problems.
“Mental health is a really big issue, it can be a significant barrier to student success,” Schallert explains. “We try to address it in every kind of possible way that we can. Teaching students coping strategies, self help strategies, to managing any kind of mental health problem they have; whether it be anxiety or depression or people with serious mental health issues.”
Students can also find pamphlets and instructions in the Wellness Center on ways you one can start making the change to better mental health, Or ways to identify those who may be struggling with their own mental health.
Some things to be aware of with someone you think might be in a low mental state are; Talking about wanting to die or suicide, feeling hopeless, giving away possessions, withdrawal, anxiety, sudden mood changes, and no sense of purpose.
“If you know someone who’s doing those things ask them, ‘hey are you thinking of killing yourself, are you suicidal?’” said Schallert. “There’s no problem in asking that. There’s sorta of a myth that says if you ask about suicide it puts it in people’s minds, but it’s actually just the opposite.”
For those feeling depressed or mentally low, don’t be afraid to reach out to either a counselor l or friend. It helps to have someone to rely on.
“Because they are new (students), they might be shy they won’t want to ask for help,” said Tony Law, an adjunct counselor at COC.
“I think that’s a big issue for mental health as a whole. I think if you need help, you need to see a therapist or just see someone to be able to express yourself to talk about the happy things and the not so happy things, to have someone to help process that information.”
In 2016, COC had no reported cases of student suicide. But as Schallert said, it’s not the end and it’s up to everyone. Students and faculty to come together to beat this problem.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with these issues, you can go to the Health and Wellness Center on campus, or read the many resources online such as suicideispreventable.org, or call the National suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.