Inside the Student Mental Health Crisis
Director of Enrollment Management
“…even if you don’t struggle with mental health issues, you certainly have classmates who do. Many of them suffer in silence.”
The first time I remember confiding in anyone about my suicidal thoughts, I was in the process of applying for Bible College. I included my prior struggles in the mandatory essay about my life and relationship with Jesus, and of course it raised a red flag with my admissions counselor. When he called me to offer acceptance to the college, he first asked if depression and suicide was something with which I still struggled. I was able to answer honestly, that no, it wasn’t. I had left those feelings behind when I met Jesus.
There is freedom to be found in Christ. The things from our past life in the flesh cannot be shed away, washed away, removed with any witty, analogous turn of phrase. But the reality for some is that these prior feelings and struggles have a way of returning because the underlying causes haven’t yet been examined or resolved.
In observing the big picture, it is important to understand that 39% of college students experience a significant mental health issue, which means that even if you don’t struggle with mental health issues, you certainly have classmates who do. Many of them suffer in silence. I did.
Things only improved for me once I started to regularly discuss my condition with others, both mentors and a professional therapist. I began to deal with the underlying issues of my depression, and only now have started to feel some measure of peace and freedom. To be clear: my condition didn’t get “fixed” overnight, but I can’t imagine where I would be if I didn’t start opening up about the realities of my experiences.
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts, there are a number of resources available for you:
- If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
- Female students may contact the Chaplain to Women, Dr. Diane Sharp, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Male students may contact the Dean of Students, John McIntyre, at email@example.com
- Thrive Counseling and Consulting, PLLC offers free counseling services to GCD students in the Fayetteville area. Call 910-483-5884 to book an book an appointment.
Activities to alleviate stress and take care of yourself:
- Maintain a proper diet and drink plenty of water. No, sweet tea doesn’t count.
- You don’t have to run a 5k every day, but you should spend some time in physical activity.
- Set short-term homework goals to aid in time management so you don’t find yourself in a stressful time-crunch or tempted to procrastinate.
- Meditate on the Word, eliminate distractions – even for just a few minutes per day.
- Sit in silence and concentrate on your breathing.
- Find a sounding board for problems or just to vent. A trusted individual or even a journal. Again, GCD has chaplains available to talk to students.
- Everything in life is about relationships – take time to intentionally connect with friends.