College stresses render need for mental health resources on campus

The pressure of the “perfect” GPA has consumed the minds and quite literally taken the lives of many undergraduates across college campuses nationwide. Many students are willing to sacrifice their mental health in order to fill a resume, hoping it will place them one step above the rest in the competitive job market.  However, more and more students are crumbling under the weight of this pressure and sacrificing their well being in the race against achieving their own idealized goals.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, like many other college campuses across the nation, are all too familiar with the possible dangers of students falling victim to the pressures of college life. MIT has an above-average rate of suicide, with the loss of four students just within the past year, raising the question whether or not universities are doing their part to create an open environment fit to promoting mental health.

At the University of California, Irvine, students are fortunate enough to have a cluster of resources available to them, which facilitate the best way in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The Wellness, Health and Counseling Services on campus are determined to address the needs of students through the help of counseling, treatment plans and giving students the tools needed to develop healthy strategies for dealing with stress. The mission of these services and what they pride themselves on, is the belief that academic excellence is only possible when students have “a strong mind, healthy body, an enlivened spirit and a clear aspiration nurtured in a supportive environment.”

UCI provides its students with opportunities to seek help from professionals at these centers, however it is important to understand that a campus can only do so much, it is up to the students to take advantage of these resources anytime they are feeling the heavy weight and stress of the college life.

However, for those students who may be too shy to seek counseling, they are fortunate enough to have a park on campus, along with therapy dogs around the libraries during testing weeks, the Anteater Recreation Center and the beach located only a short distance away; all to help students blow off some steam anytime they feel stressed. Students are lucky enough to be a part of a university that actively seeks to better its opportunity for student recreation in order to promote their mental health.

UCI prides itself on creating a discreet and judgment free environment that values the well being of its students more than anything else, and that is evident through the availability of these resources for struggling students. However, while stress will always be a part of the college life, whether it is at MIT or UCI, it is important for young students to find healthy outlets for relieving stress in order to better prepare for the real world struggles they will face after college.

Universities can only do so much to promote healthy lifestyles for their students through their campus resources, but when it comes to mental health no one can help you unless you are willing to reach out for help. It is important to understand that struggle is inevitable, but how you handle it now is a direct reflection of the long road that lies ahead.

 

Lusine Bareghamyan is a fifth-year international studies major, literary journalism minor.