A lot of things have happened in my personal life since I started college. Family illnesses and the stress of my busy schedule led my mother to ask me if I wanted to go see a counselor.
At first I was nervous, but then realized it was a good decision to speak to someone outside of my family and friends. Many students across the world and at SHU could also benefit from professional counseling, but they don’t have someone to give them the gentle push they need. Others can’t bring themselves to go due to the social stigmas surrounding depression.
Every student at Seton Hall, no matter what class level, should be required to go to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at least once a semester. CAPS has amazing facilities that assist students — including an online mental screening test that gives you references if it determines you need assistance — but all of them are voluntary.
A study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 40 percent of college students don’t seek help, while 80 percent felt overwhelmed and 50 percent struggled in school because of anxiety. Students don’t reach out for a variety of reasons, whether because of the stigma of psychotherapy or having too busy of a schedule.
Requiring students to have two CAPS sessions a year makes the pressure to go see a therapist less daunting for those who may really need the help. Plus, once that person goes to get help, they may be more likely to return.
All students have something to worry about, something that stresses them out. It could be housing or commuting, heavy course loads or trying to cram everything into their daily schedule. So, going to see someone objective can help students combat all of their stress and have a better college experience.
Even if a student feels on top of the world, they should still be required to go see a counselor. Chances are, there’s something that worries them that they could use help with.
And even if there isn’t, a counselor isn’t just someone who helps you when you’re stressed or upset, they can be someone who gives you advice to capitalize on the way you feel. They can help you create and reach goals, kick a bad habit, stop procrastinating, be more productive, and so much more.
It should be required for every student to visit CAPS at least once a semester. At the very minimum, it would take one hour out of their schedule once a semester and could even lead them to a breakthrough they’ve needed all along.
Alyssa Schirm is a junior visual and sound media and journalism major from Kearny, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.