Reaching for help during the pandemic: Mental health awareness

Students+walk+through+campus+on+a+recent+afternoon.+Many+students+are+facing+challenges+during+this+unusual+semester.

Kirsten Jansen

Students walk through campus on a recent afternoon. Many students are facing challenges during this unusual semester.

Kirsten Jansen, Photo Editor

Starting college can be a scary experience for incoming freshmen, especially during a pandemic. Not only that, but returning students have also struggled with the new normal. COVID-19 has been taking its toll on everyone around the nation and mental health issues seem to be at an all time high. Now more than ever it is time to seek help if needed. 

Vincennes University’s Counseling Center is a resource for those on campus who are looking for help, guidance, or just someone to talk to during these uncertain times. It is free to students and is definitely a resource we should use.

The counselling center has been busy since the start of the new semester. Kathy Evans, a therapist at the center, said that her schedule is completely full most days with little room for change. 

Why is that though? It could be a combination of many things but according to Evans,

“[We] are hearing, although there are many other things that contribute to mental health, COVID-19 is not helping.”

According to Jennifer Andrews, LAC Director, and counselor at VU counselling center,

“COVID-19 has changed the way we all function daily. Everything that was once ‘normal’ has changed. We now have a new ‘normal’ and for some individuals this can be a real struggle.”

Andrews said that anxiety and depression are the two most common issues that they treat at the VU counselling center and they remain at the top of the list during the current pandemic.

Many students, new and returning, are seeking mental health counselling this semester. The pandemic has created new challenges for freshman and returning students, but those who are returning are just learning to get used to the new normal. Those who have been on campus in past semesters are used to activities and fairs happening at this time, but due to COVID they have been either conducted virtually or not at all.

Not only this but it has become difficult to make connections with others, because students are limited on where and how they can meet and communicate with others.

Although there are many students seeking help there are also those who may be too scared or those who do not know how to seek help. This, according to Evans, could be due to many factors such as new clients do not know what to expect when coming in for a session.

Evans feels that teletherapy, or therapy through online, has helped with this because the students are in their own space where they feel safe and more comfortable.

The switch to teletherapy due to COVID has been a great transition that the students and faculty have come to like. Beyond the college level this will most likely continue and utilized because clients have proven that they enjoy it and some even prefer it over in person sessions. As for the college level, it all depends on what those at the center decide to do.

Going to counselling is a big step for an individual and a brave and notable thing to do. Never be afraid to seek out help especially during the roughest times of the world, or your life. 

For those who still may not feel comfortable with going to counselling there are several online resources

Our counselling center is here to make you feel comfortable and help in any way that they can. To make an appointment or learn more information about their services click their link on the VU Counseling Center website.

In the words of Andrews,

“Students are not alone in these changes: we all are part of the change.”

Reach out and get help, you are wanted and loved here on earth.