Deeply ingrained stigmas surrounding mental health prevent students from seeking the help they need or want.
As a licensed mental health counselor and Plattsburgh State assistant director of counseling services since 2005, Christy Minck explains it: “If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t think twice about going to see a medical professional, but unfortunately we have this thought process in our minds that when something is wrong with our emotional health, talking to somebody isn’t seen as equal.”
Two-thirds of students with depression or anxiety don’t seek treatment according to Active Minds, a non-profit organization that supports mental health awareness and education of students across the nation.
“College is a new and scary time, not just for freshmen,” said Kaitlyn Small, President of the Active Minds Club here at PSUC. “Mental illness affects everyone, even if it’s not affecting you directly it could be affecting your friends or a family member, so it’s important that everyone knows how to deal with it and know what it is.”
It is common for people to turn to friends in times of need before even considering a professional because for most, it is what feels safest. But when the situation is beyond what a friend can handle Minck suggests offering to help the friend connect to a counselor in a way everyone is comfortable with.
“The first thing you should always do when someone is sharing something this intimate with you is to take a step back and say ‘Thank you, thank you for sharing that with me.’” Minck said.
Minck said, “Ask permission, ask, ‘Are you willing to think about talking to a counselor?’”
If you’re willing to help them find someone, offer.
“Give as much power back to that person as you possibly can,” Minck said. “Be as supportive as you possibly can, but know your boundaries.”
The PSUC Counseling Center offers a wide variety of services to cater to whatever you may need or want. All students have access to individual, group, and couples counseling, all free of charge if the student health fee was paid.
All services are offered by appointment, except for crisis services that are walk-in.
Behavioral Health Services North, a not for profit mental health agency, sends a therapist to campus for weekly therapy options, rather than the biweekly schedule of the counseling center. But the student’s have to utilize their insurance.
PSUC also offers the Ward Hall Counseling Clinic, a clinic run by the counselor education department on campus.
Master’s level students working toward their degree see students for free with oversight by a faculty member. They are also by appointment, but offer time slots later into the day.
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