Mental Health Help for Pre-Existing Issues

By I’yonna Taylor-Smith
Jambar Contributor

Many college students face trials and tribulations during their time in college. One major challenge students commonly deal with is stress. However, not many people talk about the struggles of the students that come to college with pre-existing issues.

Stress can come from multiple things such as classes, jobs, money problems or home issues.

This can have a direct impact on one another and can produce outcomes like sleep deprivation, stress, weight gain or even dropping out of college.

While this could be detrimental to students, it could also be overbearing to those with pre-existing mental disabilities.

According to the American Psychological Association, 86% of students with psychiatric disabilities left school before completing a degree.

This study also states that more than half of surveyed faculty members said they were not sure how to help and work with students with unknown or hidden disabilities.

Hidden disabilities are characterized as disabilities that are not seen with the eye such as hearing loss, learning disorders, motor disabilities and visual impairments.

Depression, dyslexia, ADHD and epilepsy are also hidden disabilities.

About one in three college students suffer from some sort of mental health issue, according to Psychology Today.

There are two places for students at Youngstown State University with disabilities to go for help, Counseling Services and Disability Services, where students can receive free and confidential counseling services on campus.

Disability Services at YSU provides a safe space and acts as a liaison for students with disabilities.

A liaison facilitates a clear, healthy relationship between people or organizations.

A liaison also sets up a bridge between a classmate and a student with disabilities to ensure the student receives help such as a note taker. This ensures that students who are not able to attend class can get everything out of a class that students without a disability would.

Gina McGranahan, assistant director of Disability Services, said it’s not hard to get a note taker for class.

“Once students hit upper division, it’s usually not as difficult because the same students are in the same class and we use the same students. It doesn’t take a while. We usually have them done by the second week,” she said.

During the first meeting with one of the counselors, goals are set for the semester and a discussion is started about what is causing issues with the student.

According to Mental Health America, as of 2015 over 44 million American adults have mental health conditions.

The American Psychology Association suggests that the increase in people seeking therapy and the benefits of psychologists is primarily because people with mental disorders are seeking therapists to treat specific problems and learn how to cope.

Mental health is also important because it can make an impact on the way that student’s body behaves. Sometimes people are given medication simultaneously.

Ann Jaronski, director of student counseling, said there are also problems with not recognizing students with pre-existing issues.

However, with the help of counseling services on campus, students can be helped to identify barriers that are impacting their lives.

“It can take up to three or four weeks to get in to be seen if it’s not urgent,” she said.

Jaronski reiterates that the timeframe is so long because there are only two clinicians for the 1,300 students that they service.

“A student needs to identify that they feel like they need to talk to a clinician, then we work on an appointment basis,” she said. “So, a student will call or come to the front desk and they will schedule the appointment”

When it comes to college, about one-third of college students in America have trouble functioning.

Most of the time if a student needs additional help, student counseling outsources students to disability services and outside clinicians around the area. Considering that counseling services are short-term and see patients bi-monthly, this helps the flow of who they see.

“Sometimes if a student has a mental health issue, we will also then refer to disability services and provide documentation so a student can get registered to get accomodations,” Jaronski said.

Students on campus should regularly seek help during their time enrolled in school: talking to friends, taking mental health days and communicating often with their professors.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling with mental health issues and would like to speak to someone, call the YSU Counseling Services at 330-941-3737.

Other information:

Crisis Text Line: Text “START” to 741741.

Help Network of Northeast Ohio: 1-800-427-3606; 330-747-2696 ext. 211

National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255