A Hope for change with mental health on college campuses

Anxiety is very common among college students. According to the American College Health Association in a survey from the Fall 2018 National College Health Assessment, “63% of college students in the United States had anxiety in the past year. Along with that statistic, 23% of these students were wither diagnosed or treated by a professional for anxiety.”

One in five students struggle with anxiety during their four years of being enrolled at a university. 

The University of Wisconsin System and UW- Whitewater are working to improve all services and assist those who are struggling with mental health problems. 

Chancellor Dwight Dawson wants to ensure the university has strong counseling services and wants students to have 24-hour access to counseling. He also wants to fight the stigma around mental illness and make students aware that it is ok to seek help and to not be ashamed of it. 

“I think I also want to make sure that counseling and support is more conversational and not necessarily problematic. If you have an issue and you want to discuss something with them and help unpack that, you should be able to just meet with someone and talk about those. I don’t want it to be stigmatized in any sort of way,” he said.

He said the campus is focusing on accessibility and trying to be more available to students in a timely manner.

“We don’t want to only operate in a crisis. We want to also make sure that there’s preventive and supportive aspects of mental health counseling,” he said.

Benjamin Pierce, a student at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, has had some of his own struggles with mental health.

“It is a hard topic to talk about, but the stigma around mental health will not end unless our generation talks about issues and how we can resolve them.” 

As anxiety is seen around most college campuses, there are many resources to assist those who need help. 

At UW-Whitewater, the Ambrose Health Center has counseling services that are free for students. This resource is very beneficial for students because free counseling can have such a positive impact on lives. Since counseling outside of the campus area is known to be pricy, it is a huge plus to students who can get help for free instead of having to pay on mental health problems. 

With the resources available, every bit of assistance will benefit students.

Active Minds is a chapter at UW-Whitewater that spreads the conversation of mental health through events, meetings and one-on-one conversations. 

This chapter recently held an event called Send Silence Packing event. Outside of the University Center, there were hundreds of backpacks in the grass outside and each backpack had a different story to spread awareness to other students. 

Mental health, strictly anxiety, is a problem and the UW-Whitewater campus as a whole will not have any success fighting to change unless action is taken seriously towards everyone equally.