Nearly 20 million Americans are starting or heading back to school during these coming weeks. In this post we highlight articles on taking care of your mental health and making the most of the best years of your life. Warm wishes from The Shrink Space Team for a healthy and strong start to your semester!
Back to School: How to Benefit
“The more you regard college as a credentialing exercise, the less likely you are to get the benefits.” We love this opinion column on getting the most out of college. Frank Bruni dives into what you should focus on during your college career and WHY. He talks about exercise, staying social, and picking majors, among many other things. And his top advice…building deep relationships with your professors and mentors!
Challenging Mental Health Stigma
As we are heading back to school or work, many may be wondering what can we do to reduce the mental health stigma on our campuses or community. This is an excellent article written by Dr. Todd Essig, a Psychologist and Psychoanalyst in New York. He discusses how the biases, stereotypes and prejudices of mental illness has created a faulty ‘them vs. us’ mentality. Instead, we all struggle, and ‘they is us’. He explains how this distancing only perpetuates the pervasive stigma in our country. He offers three actionable recommendations for us all, whether as student, provider, or university counseling center, on how to fight mental health stigma.
Freshman Year Anxiety
This article about common anxiety pitfalls for first year students was written from the student perspective as well. This Fordham University student author references an article published by the American Psychological Association that states how 1 in 3 college students have concerns about their mental health. The author also normalizes many of the emotional experiences new students on campus face as they navigate the challenges of the first year in college. She names high expectations, the pressures of social media and financial concerns related to student loans as some of these challenges students face as they head off to college. For Fordham University specific off-campus mental health resources, check out this list here!
MIT: A Mental Health Care Model?
This article written by a Cornell University College of Engineering student, makes a case for mental health care reform on Cornell’s campus and looks to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Student Support Services as a possible model. She describes how MIT demonstrates to their students how to prioritize mental health care across campus by creating a culture where students are freely granted extensions on exams, homework assignments, and extended leaves as needed. The MIT system is reportedly based on a system of trust that allows students to prioritize their physical and mental health over their academics so they can feel empowered to be in control of their own well-being. It may be worth other schools considering models similar to MIT…
Tips for Going Back to School
Check out this short video clip on NBC news. Chief Wellness Officer at The Ohio State University suggests a college wellness checklist and identifies several key factors that first year students should focus on in order to bolster their physical and mental health and overall well-being.