Mental health is an important factor in the everyday life of college students, but keeping up with college life while staying mentally healthy can be difficult. During a global pandemic in the middle of the fall semester, one’s mental health can end up being ignored. But, with a large number of college students suffering from mental illness, it is too important to not be prioritized.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic of racism have disrupted your lives and caused overwhelming physical and emotional distress… In the face of these innumerable challenges, it is critically important to attend to your mental health,” said Chetan Joshi, the director of the counseling center and Adam Younoszai, the assistant director of behavioral health service, in an email to the UMD community on Sept. 8.
“Managing mental health looks different for everybody, but it is important to prioritize it,” said Kaanita Iyer, the programming chair and moderator of the mental health panel for the Society of Professional Journalists.
The University of Maryland Counseling Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All counseling services are free, and after-hours crisis support can be contacted at 301-314-7651.
Students can sign up to talk to a professional at the Counseling Center, or simply find events and quick tips on how to better one's mental health on the Counseling Center’s website.
“I actually got therapy from a counselor at UMD, it’s been nice,” said Alyssa Chiascione, a freshman environmental science major. The University of Maryland was ranked among thetop 30 schools with the best wellness centers for students. Students have opportunities across campus to help them to destress The Counseling Center is open to students, spending time exercising at Eppley is a good way to destress, and even joining a club or going to university-held events can help students at UMD feel like they are not drowning in work.
One student-run program,Lean On Me, College Park, is an anonymous emotional support text line that can be contacted at 301-494-8808. It provides students with non-crisis emotional support from their peers. This app is open to all UMD students and is a valuable tool when you need to juggle school and your mental health.
“Given all the stressors and general craziness happening in the world right now, we really want to provide an additional outlet for students to seek emotional support or talk things out with a fellow student,” said Tesia Shi, president of Lean On Me, College Park. Adjusting to being in a college environment can be hard for anyone, and doing so while in the midst of a global pandemic is understandably difficult, which is why practicing de-stressing techniques like deep breathing and yoga, or whatever works for you, is important.
“I deal with stress, especially during the semester, by going to the gym and doing yoga,” said Jerold Massie, a junior journalism major at UMD.
Simple things can also help better your mental health, like eating balanced meals, sleeping for eight full hours and drinking enough water. A healthy body can have positive impacts on your mind.
Mental health is not black or white. It is different for every person, so finding what helps you de-stress or relax is an important step toward being mentally healthy.