Support at your service: Mental health services aid students

 
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BY MIRANDA SCOTT —

As a college student, living on campus and away from parents and guardians can be thrilling, but it can also be scary when it comes to dealing with serious life issues alone. Fortunately, students at Northern Arizona University (NAU) are provided with a multitude of services. More specifically, mental health services are available for students dealing with depression, anxiety, grief and other stress-related issues. These services give students support to deal with delicate matters and are here to assist those struggling and to help deal with the outcomes should issues progress.

More than 121 million people are affected by depression worldwide, making it an epidemic. Students are at risk for depression from school-related stressors, body image issues and substance abuse problems, and only two-thirds of students are willing to reach out for help and therefore are more likely to commit suicide than other adults. However, there are a myriad of services both on campus and online that can help students deal with their issues safely.

“One of the most popular resources we have for students dealing with depression is the online training program, Kognito,” said Melissa Griffin, a campus health educator. “It’s a thirty-minute tutorial on how to deal with someone in your life who is affected by depression, and it walks you through different situations so that you are prepared for the reality of depression.”

The Kognito program is only one of the Health Promotions online resources for dealing with depression. There is also ULifeline, which is a website with articles on subjects such as how to control mental health diseases in college and exercises that act as preventative measures to falling into depression. A mental health checker is also on the site, and it can be taken by an individual to measure whether or not they are suffering from a mental health disease such as depression or anxiety. Helpful for those who may not recognize the signs in themselves, this test is accessible to students on the Health Promotions webpage as a link.

Another resource for those seeking help is the counseling services provided at the Health and Learning Center. Available to students are a variety of counseling options, including single and couples counseling, as well as emergency counseling for those at risk of suicide, assault and other serious traumas. Students can also schedule counseling appointments just for the sake of talking — about subjects such as grieving and obsessive compulsive disorder. The first counseling session is free, and there is co-pay charge after that.

Trejon Dunkley, a freshman theater major, said her experience with counseling helped her get to a better place, and “the therapists were really caring and so were the nurse practitioners.”

Dunkley had a panic attack in one of her classes a couple weeks ago, so the professor referred her to counseling.

“Getting an appointment was fast and easy, and I was able to talk to one within the hour,” Dunkley said. “We sat down and talked about some of the episodes I have been having lately. I felt really safe and I felt like they actually understood what I was going thru.”

Dunkley scheduled a follow-up appointment while there and plans on making it a regular part of her schedule.

Those suffering from stress-related issues and feel there is no one for them to reach out to should look no further than NAU’s on-campus and online resources. Counseling services is located in the Health Promotions office at the Health and Learning Center and both online services can be found on the NAU website. To schedule an appointment, call the counseling front desk at 928-523-2261, or schedule personally at their office located at Fronske. If it is an emergency, contact during office hours, which are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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