Siena College's Student Newspaper

Opinion

Mental Health

Mental health is a very important subject that often gets overlooked due to the array of homework and other responsibilities college students face. With every other issue that is pressing against us, most people don’t have time to consider themselves while buried under piles of work every night. However, that is exactly what we need to do: take time, even if it is only a little, to focus on ourselves every day.

At Siena, they give every student ten free consultation sessions with the Counseling Center. While this may appear as kind and giving at first thought, ten free sessions is nothing for someone suffering from severe mental health issues. What happens if a student is on the verge of suicide, but they surpassed their amount of free consultations and do not have enough money to pay for one? After all, this school does cost sixty-grand, and I would think that this would encompass free mental health consultations. The hypocritical concept that is portrayed in universities and colleges is that they care about your mental well being, but there is a limit to how much they care until your problems turn into their dollar. How are students supposed to truly trust the people on campus that are supposed to support them if, in the back of their mind, they are thinking about which session number they are on, and whether they need to save the session for a more critical time? I understand that policymakers are trying to allow mental health consultants to make money, but I would think that some of our $60,000 would go towards paying them so we do not have to worry about what session we are on. 

As a Bonner, which is a national developmental program where students get paired with a site for all four years and help that site progress in its goals, I have chosen a site that focuses on young girls’ mental health and establishing healthy lifestyles. It is truly amazing to see how far a little bit of guidance can go when we pushed in the right direction. Sometimes, all students need is an opportunity to de-stress and to be nudged in the right direction about how to better themselves. However, with such little time trying to balance school, extracurriculars, social life and sleep, managing stress can seem nearly impossible. 

It is important to be aware of how you are feeling. Simply put, better attitudes and higher self-esteem lead to better lifestyles. With a generation that is so focused on individual desires and how to become the best of the best, one must take time to do the things they want, not solely things they have to do. Now, I am not suggesting don’t study for the test you have the next day because you don’t want to. Rather, take a break and go to the gym to make sure you are working on improving your lifestyle. Personally, I know my mental health is correlated with how my body looks and this seems to be true for a lot of millennials. With such an influence in the media of what our bodies should and should not look like, it is hard not to be disappointed when you don’t uphold these standards. However, one should recognize these standards of beauty do not define it, and if your body is not “picture perfect” that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be happy with it. 

Mental health affects every aspect of our lives. It affects our happiness, relationships, school work and more. That is why it is emphasized so strongly to take care of yourself, and put yourself first.