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Sometimes, health has nothing to do with whether you should get help.

Being in college can be hard on you mentally (Image via Odyssey)

Unbeknownst to many, the therapists at your school are for much more than just helping people with mental illness. It turns out that a therapist can help you work through a lot of issues and even prevent them. Think about it like this: You still have to go to the doctor’s office for an annual check-up even when you’re healthy, as doing so can help to prevent a number of physical problems. The same is true with your mental health.

They can assist you with problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD, ADHD, suicide-prevention and many other issues. And the great thing is, everything you tell your psychiatrist is confidential—meaning they can’t tell your friends, teachers or family about your sessions unless you plan to hurt yourself or someone else.

According to BestColleges.com, 40 percent of college students experiencing the mental health conditions mentioned above do not end up seeking help for their psychological issues. If you find yourself feeling run-down, depressed or unusual, don’t hesitate to get help. What’s the worst that can happen?

We All Have It: Stress

What? College students are prone to stress?

Yeah, you’re probably not surprised to hear this, as you’ve likely been encountering stress yourself. Maybe you’re working a job to pay your way through college or you’ve taken on more than you can handle this semester. You’re not alone. Studies show that, like you, 80 percent of college students feel that they are “overwhelmed by their responsibilities.”

Increasing numbers of freshmen now are needing to see a campus psychiatrist. Why? Think about it this way: If you’re an upperclassman who’s stressed now, multiply your stress level by ten and you’ll have some idea of what it’s like to be a freshman again. The transition from high school to college can be a rough one—new friends, new living arrangements, class types, studying needs and sleeping patterns are just a few of the stressors almost all freshmen deal with.

A lack of good sleeping and eating habits can lead to physical and psychological issues, including anorexia, bulimia, depression, malnutrition and numerous other health-related problems. Such issues are so common that, according to Psychiatric News, one in every ten college student has been diagnosed with depression.

So, if you do decide to see a psychiatrist, what will your first visit look like? Well, it depends on your reason for visiting. Chances are your first session will begin with you and the therapist introducing yourselves and becoming familiar with one another. They will likely want to discuss your reason for visiting, as well as the course on which you want you future sessions to go.

According to Your Health In Mind, during your first session, the therapist you are seeing will likely “listen to you talk about your concerns and symptoms, ask questions about your general health, ask about your family history, take your blood pressure and do a basic physical check-up if it’s required, [and] ask you to fill out a questionnaire.”

Obvious Downsides

There are definitely some initial downsides to attempting to see a therapist, but the possibility for very positive results is reason enough to take the risk. It’s not unusual to feel awkward about going to see someone like this, but your health is important; don’t allow your discomfort to get in the way of you leading a healthy college career and an overall healthy life.

Along with discomfort, many students find it takes a long time to get in to see a campus mental health professional. In fact, “students often have to wait weeks just for an initial intake exam to review their symptoms,” according to Scientific American. This wait for services is the result of many students now coming forward to get help for their mental health.

If you’re unable to get an appointment to see a professional at your college as soon as you might need to, ask the professional’s department for the names and contact information of other psychiatric professionals in the area who are not associated with your college or university.

Some “Depressing” Facts

Mental disorders of many types can lead to depression if left untreated. These issues, among others, have increased the number of suicides for adolescents and young adults worldwide.

Suicide rates among this age group are on the rise. According to HealthyChildren.org, suicide is the “third leading cause of death for fifteen to twenty-four-year-olds.” In college students, suicidal thoughts can be brought on by anxiety and depression, the leading problems experienced by individuals in this age group. Allow this to encourage you to go see a psychiatric professional, whether you are ill or not.

Sometimes, looking for a different therapist can take too long, especially when the issue you are experiencing is one that’s negatively affecting your life in a significant way. If this is the case, and immediate assistance is required, please consider calling one of the following American hot-lines. It might just save you a lot of time and regret. Please note that even if you are just in mild distress, these hot-lines can help you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention: 800-931-2237

National Helpline for Substance Abuse: 800-262-2463

Alcohol Helpline: 800-331-2900

Mental health is a very serious concept: going to see a mental health professional can benefit you mentally, physically and emotionally. Your grades just might go up while your stress levels settle down. Adjustment, stress-relief, emotional assistance and work on eliminating the symptoms of psychological disorders are merely a few of the benefits that can come when you make the decision to get help.

Getting help does not say anything negative about you as a person, only that you’re brave and smart enough to reach out for help.

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