Breathe in, Breathe out. Spring might be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your mental health for that perfect grade.
One out of five Americans suffers from a mental illness each year and 44 percent of the college students nationwide revealed immense anxiety, according to Psychology today. The top three issues college students struggle with are: Depression, Anxiety, Relationship issues.
With this May marks the month for national mental awareness and Palomar College’s Health Services is fighting to reverse the stigma attached to mental illness. Health Services shows students the sources that are offered on campus. They give information on illness, personal assessments, professional assistance and community resources.
On May 4, Palomar Health Services held a celebration at the Student Union. The event showcased the resources students can utilize on campus, as well as club and community support.
“We like to raise awareness to mental health and stigma that’s related to it. We let students know that we do have services available on campus as well as the community if they have any concerns,” said Lenka Schalkle, Organizer and Staff Assistant at the Health Center.
Schakle emphasized the importance of the event and the month. She mentioned that as finals draw closer, students on campus need to be aware of mental issues that often arise at this time, and should not put excessive pressure on themselves.
“Stress is really bad for you, for your physical and mental health,” Schalkle said. “It’s important to take care of yourself and find time every day to take care of yourself, whether it’s physical activity or meditation, relaxing reading a book and whatever takes your mind off those stresses every day.”
Palomar’s Behavioral Health Counseling Services provides students with counseling and treatment to address issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD and any troubles with relationships, grief or loss. Students can go to the Health Center and arrange an appointment for this service.
Palomar Therapist, Jim Coyle, explained that students have access to counseling, treatment and all the resources on campus that can aid them, but students still struggle to seek help and assistance.
“There’s a stigma attached to mental illness that makes them feel ashamed,” Coyle said. “These type of events we try to reduce that, saying: ‘Hey it’s okay to talk about this.’ But some students suffer in silence and you’re walking around amongst some of them.”
Kat Casabar from San Diego County Health and Human Services, said the general idea of the month is to promote and normalize the concept of mental illness.
“Health hazards are real and they are actually pretty common now. That’s what people don’t realize, they kind of put people in boxes where, ‘Oh, he probably suffers from a mental health problem,’” Casabar said.
“I always say: If you don’t take any forms from me, take the active and crisis line. People think that you only can call that line if you’re in a crisis. But you could just need information. You could know someone who does, and you can call that number and get in the right direction,” Casabar added.
Kaya Kubota is Co-Vice President of Active Minds, a campus group focused on mental health, breaking the stigma, and bring consciousness to mental illness on campus described illness.
Kubota discussed that it’s difficult to reach out for help, but just that reach can significantly create a relief with those suffering from mental illness, grief or anxiety.
“As someone who has social anxiety, it’s hard to reach out to people and be like, ‘Hey, I have this issue.’ But honestly, once you find out and start to help yourself your life becomes better from there. You have all these resources and help,” Kubota said.
Health Services provides a variety of sources for students focused on mental health. For more information, call the Student Health Center at (760) 744-1150, extension 2380 or visit us online: www.palomar.edu/healthservices.
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