In times of stress, mental health takes priority

Posted by Adam Cohen

As most students have heard, a tragic incident occurred at Rutgers University earlier this fall. Freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide as a result of a cyberbullying hate crime based on his sexual orientation.

I would like to think that the Skidmore students would never do anything so cruel as to make a fellow student feel the way that Clementi did, but in the wake of this terrible incident and in preparation for midterms, I believe it is appropriate to discuss mental health and wellness, especially on a college campus.

Good mental health can be difficult to maintain in college – constant stress from schoolwork, tests, upcoming midterms, personal drama, relationships, lack of sleep or exercise and tons of other factors can all add up to poor mental health.

Life's not perfect and we all deal with problems on a daily basis, but there is a healthy way to do so which can help keep you in good psychological shape.

Something as simple as getting a good night's sleep, or even a nap, can help you de-stress and feel better.

More complicated solutions, such as making a schedule to keep track of appointments, assignments and due dates can help to alleviate some mental baggage as well.

It may seem like a waste of time to make a serious schedule, but you may not even realize how helpful and relieving it actually is. Setting aside some "me time" each day can help tremendously, as well as including time to exercise a few times a week.

Most of these solutions deal with managing stress — but that's not all there is to mental well-being. Sometimes you won't know or realize what is causing problems.

As corny as it sounds, in most cases, it helps to talk to someone about your problems. It doesn't have to be a professional – it could be a parent, a friend, someone who may be going through the same rough patch you are, a Peer Health Educator such as myself or even a professor. You'd be surprised how many people are open to listening and are willing to give you advice.

That being said, there's nothing better than talking to a professional about your problems. After all, they are professionals.

It can definitely be intimidating, or even downright scary, to go see a professional about issues you may have, but if you can get past that fear, you can get some great advice.

If you think you know someone whose mental health may be in jeopardy, it's important to know how to appropriately help him or her.

It is not your responsibility to help someone in need, but if you feel you are able to help, then do so.

Ask how he or she is doing, and actively listen. If you find that you can give him or her advice, or have had a similar experience, then there's a good chance you can be a great help to someone.

If you find that you may be in over your head, try recommending that the person go to the Counseling Center, or offer to go with him or her if you feel comfortable.

If you feel he or she may not want to go, but that it would significantly help, you do have the option of anonymously recommending the person to go to the Counseling Center.

In some cases, you may want to go to the Counseling Center yourself to talk about a friend with a problem. Remember, everything said in the Counseling Center is strictly confidential.

Mental health is a serious issue, and as part of the Skidmore community, we all have a part in making sure our fellow students are in good mental health.

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