Feeling Blue this Winter? Take care of your mental health with these tips!

College can cause a lot of unwanted stress to our bodies and can even lead to developing various mental illnesses. Knowing the red flags and where to go to seek help is an important part of taking care of yourself. At West Liberty University, mental health matters, and there are plenty of counseling services offered to all students.

The counseling office is located in the student union on the second floor in room S14. The two counselors are Lisa Witzberger and Dr. Susan Ridley. Their office hours are 8 a.m – 4 p.m Monday through Friday. If you are wanting to make an appointment, you can search “Counseling Services” on the WLU website and request a counseling session, call (304) 336-8215, or you can email Witzberger at [email protected] Walk-in appointments may be allowed, depending on availability. You can also refer a friend- a referral box is located outside of the office- if you think they may need help or would benefit from a session. Appointments may be held via zoom or in-person following the CDC guidelines.

Mental health is a serious issue for college students everywhere. It can be easy to overlook the red flags for yourself or your friends. According to a study by the APA, “Anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).” These numbers are only increasing, and students aren’t getting the help they need because they don’t realize they have these issues. Bringing awareness to these issues and being educated on the red flags will help you and your friends.

Witzberger said that during the 2019-2020 academic counseling, 187 students received counseling services. Witzberger also mentioned a few behavior changes to watch out for that may be a sign of mental illness: Unusually emotional, sad, tearful, irritable for more than 2 weeks, complaining of physical distress such as a loss of appetite or excessive eating, insomnia or excessive sleeping, stomach (gastrointestinal) distress, headaches, inability to concentrate, etc, missing more than an acceptable number of classes, a dramatic drop in academic performance, and more.

The way the world has been the past year has been hard on everyone, but it also caused an alarming amount of stress and depression for college students. According to The Brink, a study showed that over 18,000 college students- among only 14 campuses – reported an increase of depression as a result of the pandemic. Even though we’ve come closer to being back to what used to be our normal, our mental health is still fragile and needs to be taken care of.

Healthline revealed some tips on how to help your mental health and avoid depression and anxiety. A few of these tips include getting a good night’s sleep, keeping up with routines, and seeking social help. All of these methods are useful at any point in your life when you are struggling with mental health, but these are especially important while you are in college.
Taking care of yourself during stressful and unknowing times can be extremely difficult for college students. Making sure you are informed of the resources your college offers and how to seek help outside of campus is a good first step. Practicing good habits can also decrease your likelihood of developing anxiety or depression or both. Take care of yourself and remember that it’s always okay to ask for help.