Looking beyond the stigma

The stigma against mental health is prominent. But that doesn’t mean it has to continue to be.

As students, we face numerous challenges daily. We have tests to worry about, group projects we dread along with outside factors that play into our daily routines. 

Sometimes things can become too overwhelming.

ACTS, Advising, Counseling, & Testing Services, is a free campus service for any enrolled students who need counseling, whether it is for school-related or personal issues.

Active on campus for approximately 10 years, ACTS helps students in a variety of ways including academic advising, testing services and counseling for mental health with two full-time counselors available.

Testing services are located in Webster Hall, while all other services are found in room 243 of Billingsly Student Center.  

Monday, Oct. 8 marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week on campus. The event is known as Connect 2U.

Heather Bullock, lead mental health counselor, said the event has taken place on campus for many years. It is designed to help students connect with the counseling staff in a low-threatening way.

Bullock said a student’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, because stress affects every part of a person’s body, including their mind. 

“I think mental health is important to students because life is hard, and school is hard, so when you’re trying to manage all of your other responsibilities and you’re putting school on top of that it’s beneficial to have somebody help you deal with those stresses, or sometimes students have more severe things they deal with besides stress,” said Bullock. “To have a non-judgmental person to talk those things over because families will tell you what you want to hear, and some don’t come from the best families either but to have somebody who can listen without judgment is very beneficial.”

Some of the motivating factors in the creation of Connect 2U, was the need to de-stigmatize mental health and to help students realize, that even on the worst days, it is okay to talk to someone and express those thoughts and emotions. 

Life is better when problems are dealt with, so we can live healthier lifestyles and encourage those we love to do the same.

Stand up. Let’s begin to end the stigmas surrounding mental health issues. 

Concerned about a friend or need to talk? Contact the mental health on campus at: [email protected] or 417-625-9324

Online suicide prevention program: asklistenrefer.org/mssu