You don’t need a mental illness to go to the CMHC

Sanika Nayak

With the fall semester in full swing, students often find their stress levels at new highs. Being away from home coupled with the pressure of a college environment can easily  escalate for many students. This increased anxiety can lead to an unhealthy mindset and lifestyle. Unfortunately, many students don’t think this sort of stress warrants attention, and they wait far too long to seek help. Students should better use the resources provided by the Counseling and Mental Health Center when stressed or anxious. Their resources are in no way restricted to students diagnosed with a mental illness.

According to Katy Redd, the CMHC associate director for prevention and outreach, the center provides a wide array of services such as short term individual counseling, group counseling, medication and psychiatric services and crisis appointments.

Redd said students with a variety of issues should seek assistance from the CMHC, including anxiety and stress. Every student’s situation is a little bit different — the important thing is to give CMHC a call or walk in so they can talk through students’ individual situations. 

Seeking mental health resources due to a bad day or bad week is okay and doesn’t require an official diagnosis beforehand. It can be helpful to find solace during stressful times by confiding in a counselor or visiting the center’s MindBody Labs. The MindBody Labs are located on campus and allow students to drop in and experiment with resources for mindfulness and stress reduction. 

Redd said that although some level of stress is expected for college students, it is important to understand when that stress becomes unhealthy and when students should seek assistance. 

“The problem is that stress can sometimes become so overburdening that it becomes difficult to keep up with daily living activities such as going to class (or) hanging out with friends,” Redd said. “That could be an opportunity to connect with the Counseling and Mental Health Center.” 

Using counseling or other mental health resources to take care of yourself during stressful times is vital. Visiting the CMHC early on can help students before they become overwhelmed, and can prevent the development of a more severe problem. All students can and should access CMHC resources with an open mind and allow themselves to check in on their mental health.

Nayak is a communication sciences and disorders freshman from Austin.