Students unwind with relaxing activities
By Anthony Ingham
County College of Morris’ Active Minds club wrote chalk messages on the pavement path outside of the Student Community Center Tuesday, Oct. 9 to encourage students to reach out for help and become aware of mental health issues.
“No one shames a diabetic for taking insulin when they need it,” said Lisa Volante, a CCM counselor. “Unfortunately, it’s the exact opposite when people with mental health issues whenever someone tries to talk to someone else about it. People tell you to just ‘be happy.’”
Active Minds is a group made with the intent of helping those with mental health issues, and trying to champion the fact that people who live with with these problems are the same as anyone else, and can be just as successful. Volante said there is no fundamental difference between someone with a mental health problem and someone without one, except for the way they’re treated.
According to a study done by Chadron State College’s Behavior Intervention Team, college counseling centers have observed an increase in the prevalence and severity of mental health issues experienced by students. The study also finds the number one reason students refuse to get the help they need is because they feel there’s a stigma around both asking for help and mental health.
Due to a large amount of media consumed by students portraying people with mental health issues as ‘deranged’, or ‘crazy’, and the way that parents view the problem, many students have a negative opinion of them, Volante said-. She also says that this fact is made worse by students refusing to get the help they need due to feeling like their struggle is normal, or that they will get over them eventually.
Sthefani Camacho, president of CCM’s Active Minds said that students aren’t even willing to admit that they have these issues.
“In my experience, only a small minority know how to handle their own mental health issues,” she said. “In fact, most either don’t know that they have an issue or deny them outright.”
Camacho says that most students are incredibly unwilling to talk about their mental health because they feel like people will see or treat them differently, like they’re someone they’re not, or in worse cases discriminated against. According to the Mental Health Foundation’s “Stigma and discrimination” article, many people don’t even understand the struggles their fellow students may be going through due to a plethora of misinformation. But there are people willing to help, and Active Minds is living, breathing proof of that.
The Counseling Center’s De-Stress Fest Week starts Monday, Oct. 22, and has activities such as yoga and meditation until Thursday. For more information on the events, email email@example.com or look around campus for flyers with descriptions of the weekly activities being offered.