Mental health signs, treatments should be common knowledge

WSU students should consider their own mental state more, use Cougar Health Services more



WSU students with undiagnosed mental health issues would benefit from speaking to a professional.

AMAR JOSHI, Evergreen columnist

We all have something about ourselves that we don’t like, something which burdens our life in some way. The question is how to deal with issues like this before they turn into more serious problems.

It’s been over a year now since Tyler Hilinski’s passing, causing many to consider how we can help ourselves and others in situations like what Tyler faced. The Hilinski Foundation works to improve mental health programs in the athletics community, helping many, but every college student has the potential for these problems.

We put so much of our time into school, work and other people that we often forget about ourselves. Keeping up with our mental health stability is critical to survive college. We should take time to confront our mental health and cultivate good care.

Paul Kwon, professor of psychology at WSU, has studied the mental toll college students have to undergo.

“The fact that you’re in college, makes anxiety … more of an issue,” Kwon said. “Relationship issues come up … parents, finances; those are the more common issues.”

We all have problems in our lives which can lead to severe mental illness. Overworking can lead to anxiety disorders, relationship issues can build into depression and stress from schoolwork can easily lead to sleep withdrawal and malnutrition.

Life is terrible sometimes, so we should support ourselves and others in maintaining our mental stability.

“People tend to struggle more because of anxiety or issues with relationships or academics which can lead to more anxiety,” Kwon said.

More students are coming in for assistance with more severe issues than ever, according to Kwon. This trend leads some to believe one of two theories: either more students are developing mental disorders, or more are realizing they need help with their mental health ailments.

“The number one thing if someone is struggling is to acknowledge that you have an issue,” Kwon said. “Admitting that to yourself is the key step because that will then lead to the kinds of steps that will be helpful.”

Students should know about their mental health treatment options. Following through with real change and dialogue about yourself is how the problems get solved. Some people have someone they trust to care for them and they’re often the first choice to find and talk to.

For those that don’t, Cougar Health Services offers group and one-on-one counseling for a variety of mental health ailments and are welcoming to all participants.

Mental health needs to be taken seriously. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk to each other or a professional about our problems and we need to ensure that others feel comfortable with talking about their issues. By encouraging greater attendance and outreach of these mental health meetings, more students could come to recognize the signs of these issues and pursue treatment for themselves if needed.

It isn’t selfish or narcissistic to pursue good mental health. Focusing on yourself sometimes can lead to knowledge and growth, building toward a stable health condition. Everyone needs someone to talk to and no one should be afraid to talk about themselves.

But part of improving your condition is having an open mind.

Empathizing with others and drawing from their experience in a group helps one to reflect on their own state of mind, whether they consider themselves healthy or ill. For that, the group counseling sessions of Cougar Health Services are ideal and should be attended more often.