Time to drop the stigma about student anxiety

Autumn Lamp

College can be a very busy time, causing heightened stress and anxiety. People are coming together through social media, clubs and school to discuss and share their problems with anxiety.

There’s less of a stigma around it anymore; everyone has anxiety these days. Well, they probably always did, but now they are talking about it, too. Get on any social media network and you will probably see someone making a joke about anxiety. People are being very open and honest about anxiety, depression and existential dread on social media specifically. Many Twitter users dedicate their entire account to turning their anxiety and mental health troubles into entertainment for everyone else. People are trying to make it funny so that it’s easier to talk about. One could say that mental health issues are even being glamorized on social media. While social media may be a healthy outlet for some, it can cause even more angst for others.

Washburn offers many resources to help students deal with these issues. Washburn offers free counseling Monday through Friday and takes walk-ins on Wednesdays. They can also connect students with health services if needed. The Psychological Clinic helps treat specific issues such as panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. This service is ten dollars a session, still far cheaper than services outside of Washburn.

“It can be so stressful and daunting to reach out, but staff are genuinely here to help and want to meet you in the middle,” Molly Steffes-Herman, campus advocate of counseling services, said. “Students sometimes think there is this expectation to be perfect, but we were students once, too, and we understand and want to help.”

Steffes-Herman also talked about some of the most common things people on campus struggle with: transitioning to full classes as well as the stress of maintaining social life and succeeding academically.

“Never feel like you can’t stop in, even if you don’t have an appointment,” said Steffes-Herman. “If you’re having a panic attack or dealing with something immediate, we are not going to turn anyone away, we want to help.”

There are also a variety of student organizations on campus such as Hope Through Headphones and To Write Love On Her Arms that address mental health.

“One of TWLOHA’s goals is to give people a safe place that they can come and enjoy their days.” said Natalie Engler, president of the organization.

Engler encourages students to look at their mental health like they would their physical health and to open up about their anxieties and to talk to someone.

“If you don’t want to seek professional help, find your own support system, people that can listen and help along your journey” Engler said. “Nothing gets done if we close off the dialogue, we have to keep talking about it.”

TWLOHA reminds students, hope is real, help is real, your story is important.