By: Julia Yeadon, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-Being Leader
The prevalence of mental health issues among college students is on the rise, and many students fear the arduous task of asking for help. According to the American Psychological Association, over 60% of college students experienced symptoms of at least one mental health disorder between 2020 and 2021 based on 373 college campuses nationwide (https://www.apa.org/
monitor/2022/10/mental-health-campus-care). With this high percentage, it is critical that students are aware of the support that is available to them.
First, if you are a student struggling with your mental health, please know that you are not alone. There are several organizations and people on campus who are eager to provide the help and support you need to live a happy and healthy life. Please know that you never need to struggle in silence, and should never have to tackle the difficulties of mental health issues alone.
Second, if you are nervous and hesitant to ask for help, you are also not alone. Many individuals experiencing mental health challenges believe that asking for help puts a burden on the other person. Some are intimidated by the vulnerability that comes with opening up to others about your experiences. Others may fear that people will perceive them differently, or “weaker” for needing to ask for help. However, reaching out for help takes bravery and determination, two qualities that speak volumes about your character. Keep in mind that you are loved and valued by your family, friends, and members of the UMass Lowell community. You are never a burden and deserve to receive the help you need to thrive academically and emotionally.
Some students may feel that their mental health issues are not “severe enough” to ask for help. However, there is no level of severity that makes it acceptable or not acceptable to receive help. If your life or well-being are being impacted in any way by mental health issues, you will benefit from asking for help. If a recent event or feeling of loneliness, worry, or stress is on your mind, you will also benefit from help. You do not need a diagnosis to reach out for help.
The benefits of asking for help are endless. Having someone listen as you vent can make a significant difference in your well-being. Speaking to a professional, such as a counselor or therapist, can open your eyes to coping strategies that help manage your symptoms and give you more control over your life. It is important to remember that, with help, you have the potential to lead a healthy and productive life despite any mental health challenges you may face.
If you or someone you know in the UMass Lowell community may be in need of assistance, there are many resources available that want to help. UMass Lowell has a behavioral intervention team, known as Student Assessment, Referral, and Support (STARS) that works with several other departments on campus (Student Life and Well-Being, Counseling Services, Disability Services, the UMass Lowell Police Department, etc.) to offer support to students in need (https://www.uml.edu/student-services/stars/). If you are concerned about a friend and fellow UMass Lowell student’s mental health, please submit a STARS report here: https://www.uml.edu/student-services/stars/reporting.aspx. Doing so could make a valuable difference in a struggling student’s quality of life.
If you believe your own safety or the safety of another UMass Lowell student is at risk, please call the UMass Lowell Police Department emergency line at 44-911 on campus or 978-934-4911 off campus. In addition, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, the university has 24/7 on-call clinicians available to speak with you immediately at 855-890-2879.
Another useful resource through the university is the Counseling Center. Students can meet individually with counselors or participate in weekly group counseling sessions. To schedule your first appointment with Counseling Services, visit https://www.uml.edu/student-services/
counseling/clinical-services/getting-started.aspx. Students can meet with a counselor through the university as soon as the same day or next business day.
As always, please know that your Well-Being Leaders are here to help and support you in any way that we can. Many of us are Mental Health First Aid certified and have been trained to effectively support and guide you toward the resources that will be most helpful for you. In addition, we are there to help you take the next steps toward improving your mental health and general wellness. Please book an appointment with me at https://calendly.com/julia_yeadon/well-being-o.