Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Helpful mental health resources for incoming students

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Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Beginning college is difficult for everyone. Each student who comes to The University of Massachusetts arrives with certain ideas about what life at school will be like, and in some cases, specific anxieties surrounding starting life’s next chapter.

For some, this adjustment is more pronounced than it is for others, and can lead to or bring up feelings of severe anxiety, depression and other forms of mental illness. Even if this is not the case, college presents everyone with challenges and stressors that are difficult to deal with alone.

What is important to remember, in the midst of these situations, is that you are not alone.

The University provides several resources for those struggling to maintain their equilibrium while at school. The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, CCPH, houses their offices in Hills North and the New Africa House. Both are located in the Central Residential Area.

CCPH offers counseling from licensed medical professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists and clinical social workers. Therapy is available for individuals, couples and in a group setting.

Additionally, treatment for ongoing mental health issues, as well as struggles with substance abuse and eating disorders, is provided individually with each patient’s needs taken into consideration. These can include evaluations by nutritionists, physicians or clinicians, all of whom are willing and able to help students seeking aid outside of the University to meet their health needs.

CCPH also offers students the chance to meet in focused group settings to aid in dealing with the stressors of college. A great example of this is the relatively new Koru Mindfulness and Meditation Workshop. Over four sessions students learn tools necessary for not only better coping with stress but also for more generally gaining satisfaction in their daily lives. For those interested, signups take place online through CCPH’s website.

The Center is open five days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, CCPH remains on call 24/7 to provide emergency services for those in need. On CCPH’s website, students can find crucial information to help deal with life-threatening situations including suicide prevention. The website also provides the UMass Center for Women and Community’s 24-hour hotline to call for in the case of a sexual assault.

This information is crucial, as some freshmen may be struggling with tasks like getting enough sleep, completing assignments or perhaps dealing with an uncomfortable living situation.

Being at college as a freshman is often an extremely exciting and fun experience; however, it is very rarely a completely seamless transition. The majority of freshmen enter campus for the first time having never lived completely on their own. Taking care of one’s own psychological, mental, emotional and physical needs, all while maintaining a sufficient GPA is difficult, and doing all this while grappling with the task of being independent for the first time can be a bit daunting.

For these and many other issues, it is paramount one feels able and willing to seek help first and foremost from their Resident Assistant. RAs are trained to help deal with the various issues incoming freshman face as they enter campus, and can provide tips for time management, stress reduction and, most importantly, can help to mediate any potential squabbles one may have with their roommates or neighbors.

College is a wonderful time. It’s a new beginning for many, and often times is the first step many of us take in becoming independent. With change, however, comes great responsibility. With that responsibility often comes large volumes of stress, and in some cases, anxiety. For some, this is, or becomes part of a larger issue that requires professional help. For others, some simple guidance is all that is needed, though is not always easy to ask for.

What’s most important to remember if you’re struggling to find your way in this new, large environment is that you’re by no means alone.

Charles Giordano can be reached at [email protected]

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