Mental health top focus for year

Yellow Jackets, welcome back to campus! This semester should prove to be our best yet. Syllabus week is over and we already have an MLK celebration underway. Retail/food outlets are opening around campus and the tennis complex is nearing completion. Campus is teeming with activity.

Each semester, we continue to celebrate our top academic programs, global prominence and diverse student body. But I would be remiss to say that we’ve accomplished all those in a stress-free environment. For tragic reasons, mental health has come to the forefront of national attention and I want to bring that conversation to Tech.

Nationally, we are finding that we’ve been ignoring the importance of mental health and stigmatizing its pathology. We are coming to terms with the fact that millions of people are suffering in silence. And, as a country, we are finally starting to do something about it. Though direction may come from Washington, the true difference will be made locally. Improving the wellbeing of the Tech community is our responsibility.

Admittedly, Tech is not short on stress. We’re battling tough classes, busy schedules and don’t lack countless distractions. We’re pushed to the wire and we find ways to succeed. But, we’re also losing sleep, eating poorly, using drugs, drinking and/or indulging in a combination of those. Many times, the most capable among us are those who need help the most.

These are the students that I specifically want to reach out to. And, if you have friends that you are concerned about, turn to them or have them turn to someone. Positive mental health is vital to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a student.

Exercising, socializing and finding hobbies are all important to living well and arguably more important than succeeding academically/professionally. I want to make everyone aware of the resources available to all Tech students on campus. All of these outlets maintain the highest level of confidentiality. They are welcoming, private, non-committal and generally free of cost.

The Counseling Center Housed on the 2nd floor of the Student Services (Flag) building, meet with students individually or otherwise. There are an incredible offering of professional consultations and services, free/private online assessments, and an anonymous referral system.

The Psychiatry Center Stamps Health has a strong psychiatry division with kind psychiatric professionals and a range of services. With the counseling center, the psychiatry division works closely to best match student needs to the most appropriate service.
The Dean of Student’s Office, also on the 2nd floor of the Student Services (Flag) building, the Dean of Student’s Office always has an open door to any student concern.

But most of all, there are your friends who look out for each other.

If you sense that someone you know needs to de-stress and/or is simply under too much pressure, you can encourage them to tap into all the above. You can listen yourself and consult with a professional. You can even anonymously refer someone and they will be contacted.

Together, let’s ensure that Tech is not only among the best in academic prestige, but also one of the healthiest, most welcoming universities nationwide.