College is an important, exciting, and confusing time. At the intersection of adolescence and adulthood, people who recently needed permission to use the toilet are now forced to make life-altering decisions. Coupled with social temptations and increasing student debt, it’s enough to unseat even the sturdiest person.
Thankfully, college students are not alone. Universities, the government, and students themselves have built a valuable network of resources. If you’re a college student struggling with mental health issues, you have many places to turn to.
The most obvious issue here is stress. Students work hard, and many of them have jobs on top of coursework. Stress can lead to anxiety, which can introduce undersleeping, overeating, or alcohol abuse.
Speaking of alcohol, that is a problem in itself. While many indulge responsibly, alcohol’s availability and social ubiquity mean it can easily get out of hand.
Depression is also prevalent among college students, many of whom move far from home and live independently for the first time. Separation from family and difficulty making friends can make college a lonely experience.
Most universities have programs that directly address mental health issues. Here in North Carolina, universities that are part of the UNC System offer counseling centers for students. Students get 12 individual therapy sessions for free, with group therapy sessions also available. The counseling centers also work with practices in the community, should a student need a referral.
Outside of therapy, students can find a sense of belonging in clubs. Clubs run the gamut from common interests – filmmaking, gaming, hiking – to those centered on marginalized identities, like the Sexuality and Gender Alliance at UNC. If you’re the parent of a college student, encouraging them to join a club is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Students living on campus should also develop a good relationship with their resident advisor. The RA is a student trained to mentor other students, including with mental health issues. They can point a distressed person in the right direction.
If you or your child is in college, help is also available off campus. Most providers accept health insurance plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, students are often covered under the insurance of their parents, and rates are typically just a copay.
3-C is proud to offer our services to college students in the North Carolina Triangle. Learn more about how we can help you or your student.