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Breaking stigma: resources for mental illness

Nick Hughes

Opinion Editor

Mental illness is a touchy subject for people. It is alright to talk about it though, and it is encouraged by many to talk about mental illness and mental health. There are places on campus that a student can go to if they need help. The counseling center is a great resource for students to use. It can be found on the third floor of Lyle Hall.

Things to look for when looking for depression are as follows: loss of interest, weight loss or gain, feeling restless or sluggish, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and thoughts of suicide. According to WebMD these are symptoms of major depression and students are encouraged to seek out help when feeling like this.

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Depression is not something to take lightly and it is up to this campus to understand this. The campus as a whole needs to be on the lookout for the above symptoms in their friends. Millersville is a big place and for some it can become overwhelming. It is up to the students to support each other. Take the time to ask others how they are doing.

Depression is a hard thing to work on alone and it is highly encouraged to face it with a support network. A support network is a group of people that is close to a student and is able to help at any time. Taking time to build a support network is important for college students. College is a hard place to be open about these issues, but it is important that stigma and a lack of acceptance goes away on campus. Students need to band together to fight depression and anxiety.

Anxiety, if not taken seriously, is a symptom that can take over. Many students experience anxiety on a daily basis. The general definition of anxiety, according to WebMD is, “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” It is fairly common to have anxiety and usually is nothing to truly worry about. What students must realize is that anxiety has a tendency to have a snowball effect on them.

Ways to lower anxiety include, but are not limited to: breathing exercises, guided meditation, anchoring exercises, talking the anxiety out and general mindfulness. Breathing exercises can be an effective means to lowering anxiety. There are many types of breathing exercises, but one that works for a lot of people is the three, four, and five method. This is where a person breathes in for three seconds, holds in the air for four seconds and then breathes out from the mouth for five seconds. Thinking about the process takes a person’s mind off of whatever is causing them anxiety.

Guided meditation is a method that has to be done with another person, or sometimes with podcasts that are created with guided meditation in mind. Each way is different and students can experiment with various methods to figure out which method works best for them.

Anchoring exercises are used for when anxiety gets out of control and the person experiencing the anxiety needs extra care. Anchoring is a method where the person imagines themselves attached to a feeling that makes them happy and they are able to ride the waves of anxiety to get through it. This method is slightly complicated and is better taught by a licensed professional.

Talking about what is making a person anxious can be helpful at times, but it is up to the person to understand that this option is not always productive; the method can compound the anxiety instead of relieving it.