By Liliana Green/reporter
Though mental health may not be at the forefront of parents’ and students’ minds when students start college, mental health is critical in young adulthood.
“Mental health is always important but especially when gearing up for a new challenge or change, such as a new academic year,” NW counselor Lisa Allison said.
Crises affect daily functioning, and all too often, this results in poor attendance and academic performance.
“There is some unfortunate stigma in our society that makes people believe they would be admitting they are incapable or are messed up by needing to go to counseling,” NE counselor Julie Weaver said. “It is healthy to recognize a need and get help when needed.”
Awareness about mental health on college campuses has increased in recent years, in part, because of high-profile tragedies like the shooting at Virginia Tech, where a gunman shot and killed 32 students and faculty, then committed suicide. It was later revealed that as a student, the gunman sought help from mental health services on campus.
Counseling is a tool that can be used to promote a healthy lifestyle, and it is especially useful for students who may not feel supported by family or friends. Counseling can provide a third-party outlet for students to express feelings they might not otherwise feel comfortable expressing.
All five TCC campuses employ counselors and mental health professionals who can aid with personal concerns and academic decisions interfering with a student’s academic success.
Short-term counseling is available at no additional cost to currently enrolled TCC students.
TCC also has a group of dedicated counselors to help provide guidance to military veterans.
Counselors serve as advocates between students and teachers by informing instructors about student concerns or help students develop skills and courage to reach out to their instructors on their own. The counselor’s communication with an instructor on the student’s behalf is determined by the student.
“It is their [the student’s] confidentiality that I protect first and foremost,” NW counselor Brentom Jackson said.
If counselors feel there is a need, they will refer students to community resources and medical professionals who can provide a range of services.
Jackson asks students to take advantage of the counseling services.
“They are free and effective, even if you feel like it is a problem you can handle on your own,” he said. “Verbalizing it to someone who really cares to listen can provide an outside perspective, and useful strategies makes you feel better and empowered to face the many problems you will encounter throughout life.”
Students interested in speaking with counselors are encouraged to schedule appointments through WebAdvisor.