By Mel Natwick ’12
A startling 50 percent of college students experience depression during their college career and 10 percent of them contemplate suicide, according to the Pacific Lutheran University Counseling Center website.
Depression can be described as feeling sad or miserable. It interferes with the daily routines and lives of someone for weeks or even longer, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine website.
Here, at Pacific Lutheran University, we have a top-rate counseling center we can enlist to save us from these statistics. I am encouraging everyone to take advantage of this opportunity, and use the Counseling Center. I am going to provide my top three reasons why you should use the Counseling Center.
1) The Counseling Center is free. Counseling fees outside of college are expensive. Psychologist and Prevention Coordinator Lizz Barton, a PLU counselor, and she said that a psychiatric care can cost about $200-$250 for a consult and then about $150 per session. She added that seeing a Ph.D. level psychologist can range from $80-$150 per session.
Going to counseling can be expensive, and here at PLU we have the advantage of going to counseling free-of-charge. The Counseling Center is enrolled into our tuition, and we should take advantage of it.
2) At Pacific Lutheran University, we are a community. We are a family. As a family we must contribute to the mental health of all our family members.
You can contribute to the mental well being of our community by following the Counseling Center’s movement of “Know, Ask, Tell.” The second leading cause of death among college students is suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.
“Know, Ask, Tell” helps us contribute to our responsibility to help the community. The “Know” expresses the signs of someone going through depression. The Counseling Center website said that some signs include: “feeling helpless and worthless,” “loss of interest in activities/work/school,” “withdrawal from friends/ family, becoming isolated” and “increased drug/alcohol use.” The “Ask” expresses that if you recognize the signs in a friend, the best thing you can do is ask. He or she may get defensive, but at least it shows that you care. The “Tell” is taking action and referring the student who needs help to resources on campus such as the Counseling Center.
Barton said that part of the experience of being depressed is feeling alone and that no one understands. Noticing your friend or classmate’s behavior and acknowledging it could help.
3) The Counseling Center is effective. AFSP said that depression is among the most treatable psychiatric illnesses and is the best way to prevent suicide.
The Counseling Center is for all students, not just those suffering from depression. It is meant for everyone because you get an outside perspective on problem solving.
Barton said it helps to get a different perspective on a situation because friends and family may be too heavily involved in the situation to be objective.
In addition, the information you share is confidential. You get to talk about yourself for an hour with no judgment. Who does not like to talk about themselves?
Some say it is hard to make an appointment at the Counseling Center because someone can make an one but will not be seen for a few weeks. There are other ways to receive help from the Counseling Center. Walk-in sessions are offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 2-3 p.m. where students can see a counselor who will offer questions and discussions.
Using the Counseling Center is a great resource to use during our time here at PLU. Take advantage of this opportunity, and hold the responsibility to take care of our family. We never want to see a fellow student suffer, and the Counseling Center can prevent you from becoming one of the 50 percent who suffer depression during college.
If you have experienced depression or have seen a friend suffer, please comment on this blog and share your story. Depression and suicide is common on a college campus, but these topics are silenced because people are too ashamed and scared to talk about it. Sharing your story could save a life. Let’s break the silence.