OPINION: Mental health services offer help to students

By Miguel Barragan

Mental health services are more important than ever, after new international survey revealed one third of college freshman suffer from mental health symptoms.

The World Health Organization’s World Mental Health International College Student Initiative, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology on Sept. 13, had over 13,000 students from nineteen colleges in eight countries, including Mexico and the U.S., participate.

Researchers found 35 percent of students reported symptoms aligning with at least one mental health disorder as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, according to American Psychology Association.

This is a troublesome state of affairs for the mental health of students across the world.

The survey asked questions to assess mental health through identifying symptoms for mental health disorders such as mania, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, etc.

The findings revealed major depressive disorder is the most common disorder among students.

Anxiety disorder is the second most common.

Suffering from a mental health disorder, can cripple your ability to function as a student or person in general.

Getting outside help from services, such as the mental health services provided on campus, can be critical for an individual.

Dr. Joyce Green, East Los Angeles College therapist, says that when you receive help from professionals, “Not only are you taking steps to be healthy, physically, and mentally, you are taking steps to better reach your educational goals.”

She says many students fall behind in school because of the amount of pressure they’re dealing with outside of school.

Some students may not even have a steady income to pay for a roof over their heads, which can lead to severe depression and even suicidal thoughts.

Green says, “The first step is acknowledging that you could benefit from some help and then reaching out to people on campus such as counselors, deans, professor who can point you to resources on campus.”

However, many students at ELAC don’t even know they can sign up to meet with a trained mental health professional, who can help identify solutions to problems that are troubling them.

With a paid fee, all students have access to four to six individual confidential counseling sessions a year and can also participate in a variety of counseling groups at the health center.

If needed, students will be referred to mental health providers in the community, after reaching the limit on one-on-one counseling sessions.

“Sometimes people feel embarrassed to get help, but I like to tell people to think about the health center as a place to educate yourself about how to stay healthy in your mind, body and relationships,” Green said.

Students should take advantage of the mental health services offered, because it can help an individual’s mental and physical being.

To use the services offered at the Health Center, students must pay the current Health Fee of $11 for Fall or Spring semester and or $8 for Winter or Summer Session at the Fiscal Office (G1-107) or online.

To book an appointment for counseling, call 323-265-8651 or stop by the Student Health Center F5-302.

Student Health Center says, “You must complete intake forms prior to your appointment. Please arrive 30 minutes early to fill out the forms or request them ahead of time at the front desk and bring the completed forms to your appointment.”

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