Editorial: Why you should start treating your mental health like physical health

By The Beacon | October 10, 2018 7:59pm

Photo Illustration 

Media Credit: Annika Gordon / The Beacon

When you have a headache, there are things that you can do to make it more manageable: drink more water, use some ice, take a pain reliever or rest for a bit. If you break your leg, you would go to the doctor, and they would likely do some scans, maybe surgery and put you in a cast so you could heal.

But what if the injury isn’t apparent from the outside? Or what if the symptoms aren’t always so black and white? What then?

If we began to treat our mental health the way we do our physical health, we would be much better off for it. In light of today being World Mental Health Day and October being Depression Awareness Month, The Beacon urges University of Portland students, and all readers, to be proactive and take their mental health seriously. 

According to a report from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), over 45 percent of students who stopped attending college because of mental health did not receive accommodations while they were at school. And 50 percent of those students did not access mental health services while at school. 

Although a student might need help, counseling, therapy, medications and other mental health treatments can be expensive. Despite many insurance companies starting to cover mental health resources, it is still out of reach for a lot of people to get the mental health help they need. 

UP students have the privilege of having mental health counselors on campus at the Health and Counseling Center. We urge you to schedule an appointment and make mental health check-ups a part of your life. You are already paying a $75 fee per semester for HCC services, so you might as well get your money’s worth.

According to an email sent by Fr. John Donato to the UP community, the HCC has recently experienced an increase in counseling appointment requests, and it may take a few days to get an appointment. There is still one open position as counselor/psychologist that the HCC is looking to fill. But if you have a mental health emergency and need to talk to someone ASAP, you can call ProtoCall at (503) 943-7134. 

A lot of people think that their problems are less than others’ so they don’t need help. Go make an appointment if you find yourself closing off from friends, struggling with sleeping or getting out of bed in the morning, struggling to handle daily stressors, or experiencing long bouts of sadness or anxiousness. 

Even if you feel like it is not a big deal, you deserve to feel better. Any improvement is better than none at all.

So, whether you have had a long battle with mental health and know counseling all too well, or are having a difficult time adjusting to college with the stress of school and your future, take the first step and ask for help.

While there is no immediate cure for mental illness, there are many treatments available. Finding what works best for you can be a process, and that process can start by talking it out with a professional who can let you know your options. 

First visit appointments at the HCC are just 20 minutes long, shorter than an episode of New Girl, so next time you are about to try to calm your stresses with Netflix or whatever you do now, call the HCC and schedule a time to go in. 

Because — above anything — we want you to feel better. 

The Health and Counseling Center can be reached at hcc@up.edu