The Importance of One’s Mental Health

REBECCA BONNEY

STAFF WRITER

Anxiety and stress have been a main issue among students lately. The pressure to do well in school has been immense. There are different ways that one can take to help lower their anxiety or stress. Often, a school provides counseling and other events or programs on campus to help reduce one’s stress.

Here at Manhattanville, we have a bunch of different ways to help students resolve their issues. Manhattanville provides its students with a counseling center, located in Founder’s Hall, Ground Floor. Each student gets 12 free sessions per year. After that, the psychiatrists on campus will provide students with further information to reach out to a psychiatrist outside of Manhattanville so one can continue with their sessions on a more personal level. Joanne Hwang, a staff psychologist at Manhattanville, talks about the importance of making sure ones need to relieve stress are properly met as best as they can be.

“When you’re working with people, you really have to treat the individual. So, when any of us in the center are working with people, we really want to get to know the individual person who’s with me in the room. That being said, it’s going to be really important information that I’m going to gather by learning about that specific individual, but in terms of you talking about stress and anxiety, specifically, there certainly are basic coping skills that I think anybody who is struggling with stress or anxiety can benefit from learning.

So, really teaching people a number of different ways to learn what the signs are of stress and anxiety at earlier stages so they can start implementing different coping strategies; which could include, learning how to breathe, counted breath, learning mindfulness strategies. Learning how to use other tools like aromatherapy or mindfulness activities like coloring or using their own sort of strengths in art or writing and really kind of drawing upon one person’s strengths and encouraging and reusing them, knowing when to use them,” said Hwang.

The school also has a wellness room that any student can use. There is a massage chair that they can check out for 20 minutes at a time, and they’re free to lock the door to have the room to themselves. It also includes a lot of different activities that can help you cope with anxiety or stress. Inside one can find coloring books, silly putty, and a light device to help those who are dealing with seasonal depression. It’s located across the hall from the Health and Counseling Center.

Hwang also discusses her best opinion as to why college students get anxiety or stress: “It could be for so many different reasons. Again, it’s going to go down to the individual. There could be a lot of different reasons. Often, mental health concerns may really first appear for people at this age, so that’s part of it. Additionally, just the high stakes nature of being in college, it is a high-pressure environment. There’s a lot at stake for students. People work so hard to get here, they have to work hard to maintain their place here with the idea of carving out their career.

One of the stressors that everyone really doesn’t know or feel quite so confident in what they want to do in their lives. People in college are young still, there’s still a lot to learn and a lot changing in terms of one’s sort of direction they want to take. And so, it can be a stressful time just not fully knowing or feeling confident in knowing the direction one is headed in. In addition, with what’s happening world-wide, just in terms of the constant exposure of what’s happening through the media – the news media.

It’s just evidence that there is a lot of distress going on around the world and the economy is not that great and the job market’s not great, so there’s a lot of different things that I think people are exposed to and contribute making people feel really stressed out. That along with college being, for those students who choose to live on campus in resident halls, it’s a big change. To leave home and to live separate from family.”

Anxiety affects people differently and there are different levels of anxiety, but nonetheless, those who have anxiety or high level of stress should know that they’re not alone.

It’s completely okay to seek help. We live in a society where it makes people uncomfortable or feel not normal to get help for their condition. Push through your ego to look acceptable in society and make your health your priority.

Chances are, that those around you are dealing with the same anxiety and stress that you might be going through Don’t sit there and do nothing, set a good example and show that it’s perfectly normal to get help.