Mental Health Awareness
The start of a new year can be a happy exciting experience for some individuals and an overwhelmingly daunting experience for others. Many people struggle with the demands of school, lack of resources and a multitude of other responsibilities. Paying attention to our mental health is key. Check in with yourself and ask, How am I feeling today? Reach out to a friend, a resident assistant (if you live in student housing) or a counselor if you feel you are not doing well or need to talk. Also, notice how others around you are doing and offer assistance and resources as needed.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) approximates that 1 in 5 children (aged 13-17) and 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness in a given year. Mental illnesses are present in 90% of people who die by suicide. The Jed Foundation estimates that 30% of college students report having suicidal ideation and that the percentage is likely to be much higher. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among college and university students in the United States. Most students who die by suicide have not sought counseling services prior to their death.
It is not always easy to see who is struggling with a mental illness, but knowing the five signs from The Campaign to Change Direction can help you identify people who may benefit from help:
- Their personality changes. You may notice sudden or gradual changes in the way that someone typically behaves. They seem different.
- They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated or moody. You may notice the person has more frequent problems controlling their temper and irritability than normal. They may be unable to calm down, unable to sleep or prone to explode over minor incidents.
- They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people. You may notice the person pull away or avoid their typical social circles and support systems. They may also stop participating in activities they enjoy.
- They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior. You may notice a decrease in their hygiene and judgment. They may participate in self-destructive behavior or increased use of substances.
- They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances. You may notice the person cannot find anything to be hopeful about and a shift to negative thinking. They may even say that the world would be better off without them, suggesting they may have suicidal thoughts.
Think you know someone who may be suffering?
Show compassion, caring and a willingness to find a solution. The person in pain may not have the will or drive to find a solution on their own; reaching out to others who share your concern may be a valuable way to ensure this person gets what they need.
Some things to say include:
- What can I do to help?
- I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and I want to help.
- You are not alone.
- Have you spoken to a professional about this?
If you or someone you know may be suffering emotionally, please utilize these resources:
The Georgia State University Counseling and Testing Center: 404-413-1640 (24-hour crisis access). The Counseling & Testing Center is located at 75 Piedmont on the 2nd floor and is free and confidential for students. Walk-in services are available daily. Perimeter campus counseling access line is 678-891-4105. Faculty and staff can call 404-413-3357 for crisis assistance.
- Active Minds
- Crisis Text Line
- MTVu’s “Half of US”
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- National Veterans Crisis Line
- The Jed Foundation
- The Trevor Project
- Two Write Love on Her Arms
- Trans Lifeline
Let’s join together in the Georgia State University community and continue to support one another. Let’s take care of our own mental health and be aware of others who might be struggling.