Op-ed

A proposal for WCU counseling services

What are the last five things that you did on your phone? Did they help your mental health? Did you know that they could? Within college campuses, students are plagued with an array of mental health obstacles. West Chester University  provides students with adequate mental health services. However, for someone struggling, making their way to the counseling center can become an uphill battle, and many students are not ready for the fight, especially when they’re already struggling.

There is no denying the alarming statistics regarding mental health in college students.

According to Dr. Gregg Henriques in an article published in Psychology Today, one in three college students report needing, wanting or using some sort of mental health services. To put that into perspective, at WCU there are 17,527 students currently enrolled, 5,842 are currently dealing with mental health issues and the numbers are not going down. WCU must continue thinking of new ways to support their students. As someone who had mental health issues arise during my time at WCU, I should have utilized the university’s counseling services. However, the rising pressure being put on college students makes it difficult to find the time to prioritize one’s mental health. I want to reiterate, WCU is not doing a bad job at providing psychological support for their students. That being said, there is room for improvement. WCU can enhance their mental health services by putting resources in a place that is central to their students.

Ample information regarding mental health can be found on the university’s website. Newsflash: students don’t use the university website, let alone dig through the hundreds of webpages to find the counseling and psychological services section. Not to mention, the last thing a student who is struggling with their mental health wants to do is legitimize their mental illness by going to the counseling center.

The University could highlight a new application a week on their Instagram in what I propose to be called ‘Mental Health Mondays.’

So what else can the university do? Promote therapist-recommended mental health applications on their social media. On the Counseling Center page, there is an entire tab dedicated to these apps. However, information about these apps will gain greater exposure when they’re highlighted somewhere students have easy access to: university social media. Students are more likely to download an app when they discover it on the device where the app is accessible.

The University could highlight a new application a week on their Instagram in what I propose to be called “Mental Health Mondays.” Additionally, the university could also utilize “Mental Health Mondays” on D2L. Students check D2L constantly, and it is a source where students often times find themselves overwhelmed. If “Mental Health Mondays” were a section underneath the announcement side bar on the homepage of D2L, more students would be likely to engage due to convenience.

Contrary to the stereotype, the years spent at college are not always going to seem like “the best four years of your life,” and that’s okay. Coping with your mental health is a common obstacle of college life, and these apps may offer some relief from life’s everyday challenges.

Emily O’Brien is a student at West Chester University. EB897855@wcupa.edu

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