Mental Health in the workplace

The Jambar’s logo

By Jillian McIntosh

Mental Health America reported that 19.86% of adults are experiencing a diagnosed mental, behavioral or emotional disorder. Youngstown State University officials advise students on preserving their mental health as professionals.

Jake Protivnak is a professor and graduate counseling program director at YSU. He said graduate students can prioritize their mental health when choosing a job. 

“It’s not just about getting the job, but getting a job at a company or business that is the right type of culture and environment to support you as a person,” he said. “I think it’s really important for students to consider when you’re looking for a job.”

Protivnak said a workplace that creates and promotes a culture supporting physical and mental wellness would benefit those struggling with depression. 

Graduate student Morgan Fisher is a first-year clinical mental health counseling student in the graduate studies program. She said it is important for an employer to take mental health seriously.

“If an employer is dismissive of their employees’ mental health, there is a good chance they will only make it worse,” she said. “If someone is struggling with their mental health, it is important that they feel heard and supported.” 

Changed behavior or thoughts are immediate warning signs of depression that everyone should be aware of.

According to Fisher, fatigue, headaches and changes in appetite and sleep are also signs that an individual may have depression.  

Protivnak said adults struggling with depression should seek support.

“I encourage people to reach out and speak with someone,” he said. “Ideally, someone should be connected to a mental health professional for counseling.” 

He said individuals who find counseling intimidating should talk to a trusted professional such as a professor. 

There are many resources available for students. 

The Student Counseling Center, located in Kilcawley Center, offers free, short-term counseling services. The counseling center also hosts group events relating to mental health, such as managing stress and anxiety workshops. 

Health care is also available at the Mercy Health Clinic, located on Wick Avenue. The cost of student services is included in the student health fee of university tuition.

If someone is in crisis, they can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line 741-741.