Trigger Warning: This article discusses topics related to mental health, sexual assault and religious trauma.

College can be a challenging time for many, and with recent pandemic and rise in violent crime on university campuses, many are experiencing great stress and mental health rises.

According to Statista, anxiety and depression were the leading mental health concerns of college students in the 2021-2022 school year. Among other concerns were stress, trauma, grief and loss and relationship problems.

Furthermore, the American Psychological Association notes that, during the first year of the pandemic, “More than 60% of college students met the criteria for a least one mental health problem.”

While this rise can be attributed to a more emotionally vulnerable generation, much can be linked to academic, societal and political stressors.

There are many signs to look out for in people who may be experiencing anxiety or depression: withdrawal from social events, decrease in mood and changes in personality.

“Depending on how far they are into either depression or anxiety, then there’s going to be different things that come up. Either being super hyperactive and doing a bunch of stuff to try and distract themselves or being hypoactive, which is basically being numb,” said Katie Ward, graduate assistant for the ETSU Counseling Center.

Students can do many things to help mediate feelings of stress. This can include limiting media consumption, developing support systems and safety plans, practicing coping skills and utilizing self-care.

“I am a huge advocate for self-care and taking time for yourself because that’s where you can really do a lot of work mentally, physically and work through a lot of that trauma aspect,” said Ward.

If students need more specialized care, they can use the Counseling Center and its various resources.

“For myself personally, during undergrad, I actually came to the Counseling Center for whenever I was at one of the lowest times in my life, and through that experience, while at the time I wasn’t ready for change, there was a seed that was planted,” said Ward.

Students are allowed 12 free sessions in the Counseling Center every school year. However, if they do not want to attend a formal meeting, there are various other options.

“Let’s Talk” locations are open across campus as informal, drop-in mental health consultations. No appointment or paperwork is needed for these meetings, but students must attend in person.

ETSU has partnered with Mantra Health to offer free telehealth services as well.

The “Deconstructing in the Sanctuary” workshop discusses spirituality and processing religious trauma. They meet every Monday from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The “I’m a Survivor” group brings together survivors of sexual assault. A needs assessment is required for this group. They meet every Monday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The “Mind-Body Connection” group explores the ways behaviors, trauma and relationships affect the mind and body. The group meets every Wednesday from 4:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The center also conducts forest walks every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and does journaling sessions every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, email the Counseling Center at [email protected], or check out their website at .


Taylor Maupin

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