OPINION: Reach out and use resources about mental health

Its OK to be having a hard time, be aware that there are ways to decompress

It+is+important+to+prioritize+your+mental+health%2C+so+don%27t+be+afraid+to+find+outlets.+Physical+activity%2C+counseling+and+other+methods+can+be+key+strategies+to+help+yourself

NATALIE BLAKE

It is important to prioritize your mental health, so don't be afraid to find outlets. Physical activity, counseling and other methods can be key strategies to help yourself

KATIE LANE, Evergreen columnist

Going to college for the first time is scary. We leave the comfort and safety of mom and dad’s arms and are thrown into the middle of wheat fields. A full schedule of classes along with studying and extracurriculars can take a toll on anyone’s mental health. Knowing the resources we have here on campus is essential for being able to combat any mental health problems that may be thrown our way. There are also changes we could be making to help the overall health of our students.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should put in 150 minutes of exercise per week, which could be 30 minutes of exercise a day for five days each week. That can release enough endorphins and chemicals to improve someone’s mood. On campus there are plenty of facilities available for use to get that 30 minutes of daily activity. The UREC is a personal favorite of many students. It has enough classes for anyone to find their niche or even a new hobby. Closer to the dorms is the Chinook Student Center, which also has a gym available to all staff and students of WSU.

Exercise is not everyone’s style, and that is OK. There are other resources available for use that can aid in mental health. The WSU psychology clinic has walk in hours during the week, and is primarily short-term care. There is an after hours crisis line as well, in case someone has an immediate emergency. There is also an option to make an appointment. All of these visits with the clinic are completely confidential with certified counselors. 

If you’re looking for something long-term, try counseling services outside of WSU, which might be able to work better with your schedule. And the chances of running into a familiar face are lower, which helps if confidentiality is a necessity. 

One thing we can be doing to help each other is providing students with mental health days. Giving students a day to unwind and a day to themselves is essential to avoiding stress. 

“The majority of my teachers do not provide mental health days, but that sounds nice. Just a day to relax,” WSU freshman nursing major Brooke Billiar said. 

Missing a day in class is ultimately better than a student missing a week in class due to depression. Most professors have daily participation points, and if you miss even one day, your grade is going to suffer. Even some art classes only allow two absences before you fail the class, and those absences have to be made up with extra credit. 

The downside to these counseling services offered in Pullman is that they aren’t open on weekends. This is a huge problem considering most students’ weeks are crammed full of school work. This is not just a counseling service problem either. Planned Parenthood, Cougar Health and even the Starbucks in the Spark are not open on Saturday or Sunday.  

“I would be more inclined to go on a weekend rather than a busy school day,” WSU freshman biology major Catherine Soto said.

Especially with science majors, their days are filled with prerequisites and labs, further preventing them from seeking available services during the week.

There are places we can go to help our overall mental health while at school. This does not mean that WSU is doing everything it can in protecting its students from the dangers of untreated mental health. If you notice a friend or a loved one struggling, do not be afraid to point them in the right direction.