Editor’s note: It’s our responsibility to discuss mental health

By Patrick Hoff

(Amanda Creegan/Daily Collegian)
(Amanda Creegan/Daily Collegian)

Mental illness is a subject that touches many lives, especially on a college campus. More than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition in the past year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and one in four people will have some kind of mental illness in their lifetime. That’s more common than owning a gray car – one in six cars is gray.

For this reason, we at the Collegian decided it was necessary to dedicate today’s edition to mental health. We often do special issues for sports or other important events, but this one was particularly close to members of the staff, many of whom have been personally affected by mental illness.

I had the idea for this issue last spring when I was beginning to plan for this year. I wanted to bring the topic of mental health to the forefront and attempt to add to the growing number of people trying to remove the stigma of talking about mental illness. Stigma is the No. 1 reason why people don’t receive help and that’s a problem. When I mentioned it to a few staff members, I got nothing but positive responses and I knew it was something that we had to do. With Mental Illness Awareness week beginning next week, and midterms beginning to add pressure and stress, we felt this was a good time to put together this edition.

Mental illness has touched my life personally many times, whether it’s my own personal struggle or a friend’s. Though I didn’t write a piece for this edition, the issue of mental illness is very close to my heart, hence my enthusiasm toward publishing this edition.

Sixty-four percent of college dropouts leave because of a mental health related reason. Only 55 percent of students access mental health support services on campus. If you’re struggling, seek help. My father always told me that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health, so don’t ignore your symptoms. The University of Massachusetts has plenty of resources to take advantage of, from individual counseling to support groups on a variety of issues. The counselors and resources are here for students to utilize. We hope you do.

Patrick Hoff, Managing Editor