Mental health among college students

By Kiara Mays | Published Sept. 27, 2017

With over 75 percent of mental health problems beginning before the age of 24, according to the National Alliance On Mental Illness, a conversation about the once taboo topic is being had across college campuses nationwide. A few of Kean University’s students and staff talk about the importance of mental health overall and why readily available counseling services on campus are becoming necessary.

“I do believe there should be better and more efficient services for those who suffer from mental health disorders [on campus],” said Ymani Hawkins, 22, Senior, Interpersonal Communication Studies major at Kean. “As frequently as we tend to those with physical injuries and ailments, we should tend to those with mental disorders, issues, and the like.”

Counseling Center Resources Credit: Kiara Mays

Counseling Center Resources Credit: Kiara Mays

As people become more comfortable with talking about mental health disorders, college counselors across the country are starting to see an increased number of students who are dealing with such issues come forward.

“We see a variety of problems here,” said Carla Vitola, Program Assistant at Kean University’s Counseling Center. “We seek to help students transition, and adapt to life here at Kean because when people move here, it becomes hard for them to see their psychiatrist or counselor.”

Being away from home for the first time and adjusting to college life can be difficult. Then comes in the rigorous demands of academics and the ease of access to a variety of drugs and alcohol. According to Judith Green, director of the Center for Health & Counseling Services at Ramapo College, all of these things can lead to anxiety and depression as well as more serious psychiatric disorders.

There is also the issue of students being unaware that there are counseling services available on their college campus, thus making it that more difficult to seek help if needed.

“A lot of students come in here and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t even know this was here,’” said Vitola.

Kean University’s Counseling Center, located at Downs Hall, room 127, offers a wide range of services, from stress management, depression, and bipolar disorder counseling to drug/alcohol screening, and group counseling, the center is available for use to all enrolled students of KU at no additional charge.

Although more of a short term counseling center, if needed, longer term care can be provided as well as referrals to off-campus providers. A psychiatrist is also available by appointment every Monday, but more importantly, all records of the Kean Counseling center are private and confidential.

“Because college is such a crucial time in my life and many other people’s lives, it’s nice to know there’s support if we need it,” said Keily Padilla, 20, Junior, PR major at Kean.

For more information, questions or concerns, contact Kean Counseling Center at (908)-737-4850.

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