Seeking counsel from a mental health professional can be a nerve-racking task for many college students. Even admitting the potential need for help could be difficult enough. Counseling may not be for everyone, but if a person is considering visiting a counselor, they should know that being nervous is natural and normal.
“I would say almost everyone is nervous about seeking help from a counselor for the first time,” said Jeff Davis, Licensed Professional Counselor and Clinical Coordinator of the Counseling Center. “I certainly was, and I have always had some anxiety when I’ve decided to meet with a new counselor. That is perfectly normal.
“Also, it’s important to know that going to see a counselor is not a major commitment,” continued Davis. “Many people may meet with a counselor only one or two times and get what they need from it. You always have the ability to choose what you will or won’t do going forward and can change your mind if you decide it isn’t for you.”
With anxiety and depression reaching new highs amongst college students according to the American College Health Association (ACHA), counseling may be more important than ever. According to the ACHA undergraduate students are especially experiencing a spike in reported anxiety, depression, as well as, feelings of hopelessness and loneliness.
These feelings and experiences aren’t the same for everyone. They exist on a spectrum. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mental health. There are general societal factors that play a role in the development of one’s mental health. However, those factors affect each individual’s experiences in a way that is uniquely their own.
“Each student’s situation is different,” said Davis. “So general tips can be a little difficult, but here are some. The first thing is to make sure you are taking care of your basic needs. When we feel overwhelmed, sometimes we lose sight of making sure we get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and maintain social connections. Balance is important, and it can help to restore us.
“Also, sometimes we get overwhelmed when we try to do everything perfectly,” continued Davis. “It can help to remind ourselves to do our best in balancing things and accept that we may not be able to do our absolute best at everything we do.”
The pressure of being a college student can be intense. Some students are weighing school along with countless other responsibilities. Some students are unsure of their path, and some students are only attending college to fulfill the requirements and/or expectations of others. These stressors don’t even take into account the many social, societal, biological, environmental and economic factors outside of school. These factors, and more, for young adults may weigh heavily. With all the constant potential stressors thrown at college students, it is clear to see why they could become overwhelmed. It is not uncommon to feel nervous, but if a student feels like they could benefit from counseling, then the counseling center is a phone call away.