Psychological distress causes unfavorable emotions that people feel everyday. These emotions impact your level of functioning and make normal tasks like getting out of bed almost impossible.

Many people do not realize how common it is to suffer from anxiety, depression and severe stress. Why is this so common, and who is this affecting?

NYU researchers recently examined the national healthcare data in the U.S. from 2006 to 2014, concluding that the rate of people diagnosed with psychological disorders has skyrocketed.

For those of you who do not understand the day-to-day struggles of living with disorders like this, the ability to perform simple tasks and live daily life are extremely hard. Feelings like exhaustion, hopelessness, nervousness, restlessness, sadness and the worst of all, worthlessness, are how one feels on a day-to-day basis. It was also concluded that one third of the people diagnosed are young adults in college.

Research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness concluded that one-in-four students have a diagnosable illness. Of these, 40 percent do not seek help, 80 percent feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and 50 percent have been so anxious that they struggle severely with schoolwork.

This is a growing concern because even though we may be labeled as adults, this is usually everyone’s first time living alone without their parents. It may seem exciting and fun at first, but if you suffer from any of these disorders, they will quickly catch up with you.

This is worrisome to parents and campus faculty, as suicide rates are, in fact, on the rise. But how can we stop it? How can we say that we saved at least one student? What does West Chester University offer to students suffering?

I suffer greatly from anxiety, but I’ve learned not to let it take over my life, which is very easy to let happen. I’ve coped with it through therapy and exercise; those things work for ME. That is how I deal with my anxiety, but someone else may deal with it differently. So, it is important that mental health services and support groups are offered on campus so that everyone who is suffering can feel at ease for once.

West Chester University offers many wonderful counseling and psychological services. WCU’s website is extremely helpful in navigating what works for you: there are emergency response hotlines as well as counseling services offered.

There is also a texting hotline, a free service that is offered in which a trained counselor will answer you quickly. I have never used the counseling services in that way, but I can imagine that it would be extremely helpful for a student who is maybe ashamed or reluctant in getting help. One phone call or text to the counseling center could possibly make someone’s day or save a life.

The counseling center also offers face-to-face counseling sessions by either appointment or walk-in. This was very comforting to me when I started going because everyday is different when you suffer from a disorder like this. What if I don’t have an appointment for the day I wake up finding myself struggling? Well, I can always walk in and someone will be there to help me.

Another wonderful aspect of what our campus counseling center offers is that there’s no charge for a session with a psychologist or trainee.

Doggy therapy is also offered at West Chester University and it is, in my opinion, the best therapy offered. The smile and happiness dogs bring absolutely lights up the room. This does, in fact, change my mood and relieve me of a lot of stress and anxiety.

Overall, I think that West Chester University has done a great job at supporting and helping students suffering from any type of mental illness. It is okay for you, yourself, to get help, and it is okay to tell someone if you think that someone else close to you needs help. Everyone’s life is worth living and I believe that our counseling center saves lives everyday.

Maria Rosati is a student at West Chester University. She can be reached at MR821178@wcupa.edu.

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