There’s enough help for everyone

If you are feeling worried about your mental well-being, don’t hesitate to get help.

Trent Kays

College is a rewarding but difficult experience. It is a time of immense change and upheaval in life. I know it was, and still is, for me. The emotions we feel when we leave for college are not unique; we are not the first to go to college, and we certainly will not be the last. Some of us come with little emotional baggage, while others come with a truck full. Luckily, the University of Minnesota offers excellent mental health resources for students, and thereâÄôs plenty of help for everyone.
It happens: You move to a new environment, which may or may not be similar to your last one, and youâÄôre thrown into the often stress-inducing classroom, where youâÄôre expected to either be the best or to fail.
As a doctoral student, I can tell you that this experience only worsens if you move beyond the undergraduate level; however, at any level, college is hard. The stress of relocating added to the pressure of balancing studying with a healthy social life can mount quickly. But though college is difficult, it is also satisfying. Even though it can come with a great deal of stress, it need not be an ordeal which causes you to sink into depression, experience manic episodes or even attempt suicide.
We are privileged at the University for many reasons, but a significant one is that we have access to world-renowned medical facilities and staff that provide mental as well as physical care. The Mental Health Clinic, located in Boynton Health Service, provides a variety of mental health services and trained staff to assist students. The insurance offered by the University, which is some of the best IâÄôve experienced, generally insures a low co-pay and, for most students, the first visit to the MHC is free of charge.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 20 Americans experiences depression, and I was one of them.
Last year, I realized I was suffering: mentally, physically and spiritually. Every day I got out of bed was a burden, and I struggled to engage in conversation with my students and my colleagues. I understood that something was wrong, though it took me a long time to reach this understanding.
I thought that how I felt was how everyone felt, and I was wrong.
I consider myself a strong person, so it pained me to ask for help. Eventually, however, I had to ask because I couldnâÄôt continue getting up every day and struggling to feel normal, clear-headed and happy. There were days where IâÄôd much rather stay in bed than get up to do anything. I couldnâÄôt function, so, one day, I went to the Mental Health Clinic at Boynton and got help. I do not regret my decision, and I am thankful for making it.
Some students have trouble recognizing that they need help and may feel too proud to ask for it. But itâÄôs perfectly OK to ask for help; thereâÄôs plenty enough for everyone. At the Mental Health Clinic, youâÄôll find highly trained therapists, counselors and psychiatrists who are dedicated to improving your mental well-being. As the new semester begins to pick up speed, I encourage you to remember that this resource is available to you. The insurance co-pay is generally low, and it is certainly worth every penny.
There are other resources, too. University Counseling and Consulting Services offers services to students and others affiliated with the University, and there are many online resources as well.
DonâÄôt wait. Get help if you need it.
Trent Kays welcomes comments at [email protected]