Feeling Stressed?

The message for students: Stetson’s Counseling Center, located at Griffith Hall, is there for you.

The college years can be stressful for students. They are surrounded by tons of new faces, forced to take classes according to their major and often unsure of how to healthily adjust to life on campus.

The pressures can make or break a student’s experience. 

Mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and even suicide, are common throughout college communities across the country. Yet, studies show 40 percent of students don’t seek help for mental health issues, merely because they don’t recognize they are suffering from them.

Similarly, many college students may not be aware of their school’s counseling system or may be under the impression that such counseling requires additional costs.

So, as a first-year student at Stetson, I asked around, specifically with two questions: Are you aware there is counseling provided on campus? Do you know the counseling is free of charge?

“I knew there was counseling, but I don’t know where it is,” one student responded.

“I didn’t know schools were allowed to give counseling,” said another student.

A third student actually had used the counseling services on campus.

“At first, I didn’t think I needed counseling,” the student said. “I thought it was only meant for those with severe mental disorders, so I thought I would be out of line if I went. But then I realized the counseling provided on campus was not just meant for them; it was meant for everyone.”

The student added that it was strange at first, confiding in someone she had never met previously. But as her campus life became tougher, she opened up more to the counselor. With time, not only did she start seeing her counselor more frequently, but she also started to attend group meetings.

“It’s nice being able to sit down and converse with other students about their day and their struggles in their everyday life. We are each able to get a different perspective on our issues, and it allows us to open our minds to different possibilities,” the student commented.

Leigh Baker, Ph.D.: “Stress can overwhelm people” — but there’s help.

I sat down with Leigh Baker, Ph.D., director of Stetson’s Counseling Center, to find out what she believed was important for students to know about counseling on campus.

“There are a lot of different reasons why it is important for students to have access to counseling on a college campus,” Baker said. “One, because college is a huge life transition, especially your freshman and senior years. Stress can overwhelm people to a point where they can’t even function. So, I believe that adjustment is a big part of why counseling is so important.

“It is nice to have a safe place to go to talk things out and figure out who you are and what you want your life to be about. It is a lot to figure out in a few short years.”

Campus counseling is available in both individual and group counseling/workshops, and day or night through WellConnect’s 24/7 on-call counseling.

And again, those services won’t cost students a penny.

Here’s my view: We are all college students, struggling to keep our heads above water. If more students just knew the services provided on campus were free, they could take advantage of them. After all, college students do love free stuff. 

-Ajah Conage ’22

How to Get Free Counseling

Warning: If you or a student you know is struggling with anxiety, depression or contemplating suicide, please make an appointment at Student Counseling Services, located in Griffith Hall on campus.

To make an appointment, call 386-822-8900. Or, if you don’t feel like visiting the Counseling Center, call a WellConnect counselor from your residence hall, apartment or anywhere, anytime. The call is confidential. The number is 833-848-1765.