Emmanuel-Dante Kealiiksnauau k Adolpho, CIT major from Hawaii, and Jonah Blom, a senior CIT major from Casper, Wyoming, are discussing the importance of self care through therapy. It’s important for college students to fight the stigma of seeing a therapist. Photo by Misha Mosiichuk.
In today’s ever-changing world, individuals face a variety of challenges and the feeling of being overwhelmed can often feel unavoidable.
According to AAA.org, 40 million adults (18 years and older) in the United States are affected by anxiety, which is roughly 18.1% of the population. While these numbers are alarmingly high, only 36.9% of those affected by anxiety receive treatment.
You may be wondering ‘why don’t the other 63.1% go get help to overcome or better deal with this disorder?’ A big part of the reason is because of the negative connotation of seeing a therapist that comes along with it.
“I do not openly discuss that I routinely see a counselor with others because of the stigma,” said Kirsten Faulkner, a senior English major from New Richland, Minnesota. “I don’t want to be labeled or viewed differently.”
Faulkener said finding a counselor was life-changing for her.
“Having a therapist gave me affirmation and the knowledge needed to provide me the power to overcome and process [what I had gone through],” she said.
As students may feel embarrassed or hesitant to see a therapist, this need shouldn’t be ignored because of these timid feelings you may be experiencing, said Olivia Ruud, a senior media studies major from Woodbury, Minnesota.
“I cared more about feeling happy and normal than about what other people thought,” Ruud said. “Some people are less accepting to mental health issues…but I’m not afraid to share my experiences to make others feel more comfortable [about seeing a therapist].”
People believe the negative stigma exists because others may not understand what therapists really do, are uneducated about how they can help mental illnesses, and what mental illnesses consist of in general, according to an article by The British Psychological Society.
Dixie State University alumna Kathryn Brown said her therapist was a great benefit for her and all can benefit from seeing a therapist. As college students experience some of the most stressful times of lives, mental health issues may arise and could impact their decision-making.
The Booth Wellness Center’s website states, “Mental health, emotional, or behavioral issues can interfere with your ability to reach your potential in your work and studies.
Karen Young from Hey Sigmund said: “Anxiety rolls good decision-making by reducing the brain’s capacity to screen out distractions. It seems that when it comes to making decisions at least, anxiety selectively shuts down certain connections, making it more difficult for the brain to screen out irrelevant information and make better decisions.”
If you may be considering a therapist, but are worried about facing the negative stigma associated with it, Margaret Nichols from Good Therapy gave advice to conquer these feelings.
Nichols said: “It’s comforting to be with someone who is witness to your struggle and who really DOES care about you. People who become therapists have the ability to connect emotionally with others, to develop empathic bonds with them, and to hear about pain endlessly. In fact, we thrive on this kind of interaction and connection. Helping others in this way gives meaning to our lives.”
Representatives of the Booth Wellness Center were unavailable to comment and several students declined to comment about their own mental health struggles.
DSU students are able to experience what it is like to see a therapist and decide for themselves if it is beneficial for them by visiting The Booth Wellness Center. Students can use this resource to improve their mental health and overcome any challenges they may be facing.
For more information about the Booth Wellness Center, or to schedule an appointment with a therapist, visit its website or call (435) 652-7755.