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OPINION: Mental health, you’re not alone

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Welcome to University at Albany freshmen, new transfers, and returning students! A new semester is upon us, which includes new professors and classmates. Some students are experiencing life outside of their parents’ home for the first time and may struggle with loneliness and being homesick. Some students are transferring or coming back to school later in their lives and being pulled into a new environment, trying to make new friends, and feel a connection. The pressure of quizzes, catching up on our readings, and finishing up your papers are on the horizon. I dare say it is way too soon to mention that dreaded word: finals. But the anxiety and stress of college life is a reality and always there, from the first day to the very last. College students struggle with mental health and I am here to share with you my struggles and resources you can utilize to get through college life and beyond.

According to the American Psychological Association, 41.6 percent of college students stated anxiety as their top concern and 36.4 percent stated depression as their main concern. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported 85 percent of college students feeling overwhelmed at some point during the year. Most college students are concerned with either anxiety or depression and feel overwhelmed during the academic year and I am one of them.

I am diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. I loathe going to new places for the first time. I rehearse over and over in my head on what to say, even if it is as simple as “Here.” I have moments where I feel my to-do list is a never-ending battle. Since my first day at college, those voices of self-doubt tempted me with whispers to drop out a few times a week. I am a senior now, but those whispers never end. Sleeping can be hit-or-miss with me. Either I have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. It’s brutal when I combat with both, as I have been the past few nights because of the anxiety of the new semester. There are moments where I feel depressed, for no reason, and I am unable to do anything. All I can do is watch my large to-do list grow to a giant monster that I know I’ll have to slay eventually. I struggle with this every day, but I don’t quit, and I manage to stay positive. I use my coping skills to get by. UAlbany has services and resources students can use if they are struggling too.

UAlbany has a counseling center for students. Middle Earth, a peer assistance program on-campus, has a hotline from 1 p.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday and 24-hours Friday-Sunday when classes are in session. The number is (518) 442-5777. Middle Earth’s podcasts feature students discussing surviving in college. If you don’t feel comfortable getting help on campus, Crisis Text Line provides 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text “Home” to 741741. You can call 211 or visit 211.org to find local services. YourLifeYourVoice.org has resources and tools for anxiety, depression, stress, dating, and 99 Coping Skills. Search, “99 Coping Skills” on their homepage to access their list.

Whether you are stressing over an exam, missing home, feeling lost and alone, or need to vent over a fight you had with your roommate, there are services and resources available to help you get through it. You are not alone. You can get through this. Stay positive and good luck to you all this semester. You will make it.

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