You might have heard the saying “it’s okay to not be okay,” but what does that really mean? It means that the stigma around mental health needs to stop. We should normalize these feelings! College students experience a lot of change, and this change can come with new diagnoses, the heightening of old diagnoses and an overwhelming amount of stress. VALLEY is here to tell you that it IS okay to not be okay. You do not need to be 100% all the time.
You Are Not Alone
The stigma around mental health has existed for centuries, although in recent years it has finally begun to diminish. College students, now returning to in-person learning, may be dealing with more stress than before. It can be a big adjustment for some.
According to the JED Foundation, who conducted research between college students and mental health, 63% of students say their emotional health is worse than before the pandemic started, along with 56% of students being ” significantly concerned with their ability to care for their mental health.” The pandemic and feelings of isolation have most definitely contributed to these statistics, but as you can tell, you are not alone in your feelings.
The senior directors of CAPS (Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services) have shared some important information in an interview with Penn State news. According to Natalie Hernandez DePalma and Brett Scofield, co-interim senior directors with Penn State CAPS, “Nationwide, the number of college students seeking counseling services has increased over the last decade, and Penn State is no different.”
In addition, Scofield noted that “more people are feeling empowered to reach out for the help they need and a growing amount of faculty and staff are successfully identifying students with mental health concerns and referring them for services, which is a positive trend.” Reaching out for help is the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you.
Checking In With Ourselves
Checking in with ourselves and making sure we are getting the care we need is crucial. Most college campuses, including Penn State, offer incredible services that are there for everyone. In an article written by the American Psychological Association, Louise Douce, Ph.D., one of the briefing’s contributors and an advisor to the partnership project on behalf of APA, commented that “making sure students are aware of and have access to the supports available to them is also critical, as is ensuring that no student feels alone, isolated or stigmatized.” Putting your needs to the side can be harmful; therefore, it is important to know what services your college campus offers.
Reminding ourselves that we are not alone in our struggles is imperative. Penn State does a great job of offering endless opportunities to receive help, care for a friend or becoming further educated on mental health.
What You Can Do
CAPS has services for every level of need. Counseling, clinical and virtual psychiatric services are all available for Penn State students. They also do a lot of community outreach to educate about how to help a friend, what you can do for yourself, and general information for the public.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, do not hesitate to contact CAPS. The phone numbers and contact information are listed below:
501 Student Health Center, University Park, PA 16802
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Phone: (814) 863-0395
Crisis Services (24/7)
Penn State Crisis Line:
Crisis Text Line:
Text “LIONS” to 741741
VALLEY wants you to know that you are not alone. Please utilize the resources listed above if you or a friend is in need.