The Counseling Center gets 20 new visits on the daily, with numbers spiking during midterm season, but getting help often comes with a wait time.
Associate Director of psychological and health services Dr. Jeana Griffith said the Counseling and Testing Center receives mental health information from students who visit the Atlanta campus, and they all seem to have the same diagnosis.
“We are not provided with the mental health information for all Georgia State students, but we do have the data from those who come into the center. With that being said, about 90 percent of students who come in have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety,” Griffith said.
Throughout the year, 20 to 50 new students visit the clinic per day for mental health evaluations, and those numbers spike during October and March—midterm season.
National Depression Screening day was on Oct. 5, 2017, and Georgia State’s Counseling and Psychiatric centers had a table at the Plaza for students to get screened and ask questions. Outreach programs like this one are how the center tries to provide new resources to students and get feedback on different programs or sessions they’d like to see in the future.
A big part of the problem comes from students wanting to seem like everything is fine. Georgia State student Endiya Bivins believes that most students are adhering to that notion.
“It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s not okay to pretend you’re okay,” Bivins said.
Bivins said that college is the time where young adults are at their most pivotal stress point, and that’s why it’s important to keep mental health a priority.
“College is the time in students’ lives where we are faced with many different challenges to handle and battle, oftentimes alone. From grades, jobs, sexuality, relationships, bills, unaccomplished goals, home issues, weight, appearance, acceptance, and the list goes on,” Bivins said. “As that list continues to grow, it also continues to weigh heavy on our physical health as well as mental.”
Griffith noted that on any college campus, there will be about 30 percent of those students that have depression and anxiety.
Furthermore, the worldly events going on outside of school, work and personal life, are influential in the mental state of college students. This is because, in many instances, these occurrences are both directly and indirectly affecting college students.
“A lot of my paranoia and anxiety comes from the chaos going on in the world. With the police brutality, ruthless killings and everything Trump-related plus everything else I have existing in my life, it tends to weigh heavy on me mentally,” Bivins said.
But even though there are resources to address all students’ concerns, one major hurdle is getting the word out to the student body.
“We try to get the word out in several ways,” Griffith said. “First what we try to do is talk to students at the New Student Orientation. We also do several outreach programs where our doctors will go out and talk to students in the classroom. The professors, as well as students, request these from our website and I send someone out.”
Georgia State student Khadeeja Rayner can testify to the center’s success in her therapy and counseling sessions.
“They helped me come to terms with coping methods and healing,” Rayner said.
Often times, mental health can get in the way of college success. Rayner explained how she didn’t know she was actually suffering from clinical depression until her first failed class and felt that she no longer had a reason to leave her bed every morning.
“I sought therapy from Georgia State and after checking myself in to get treated, I discovered that I suffered from severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD and my counselor has helped tremendously,” Rayner said.
There is a wait list to begin individual or group counseling, ranging from about two to four weeks. A wait list means that there are a lot more students going in and seeking help, and once schedules are matched with the counseling professionals, students can begin receiving treatment. Dr. Griffith also mentioned that there are several things students can do while they are waiting to be seen.
“We have really neat and helpful online tools for those who are on the wait list and want to start learning getting the help that they need,” Griffith said.
One of those tools is a program WellTrack, which tracks students’ moods and offers helpful ways to manage them. Griffith said there are also multiple online resources and other meditation programs that you don’t need an appointment for.
“To try to bridge the gap between us and the students, we are trying to use more social media because that’s where most college students are. Through the website, the outreach programs, the events we have, and coming into the center as a walk-in, I believe more students will be more likely to seek help,” Griffith said.
Georgia State’s Mind-Body Clinic
- Mindful Mondays Meditation. This is an opportunity to practice mindfulness meditation. No experience necessary! There is no need to sign up. Just show up. You are not obligated to attend a set number of sessions; however, the more that you practice, the better you are at minimizing stressors. 2:00 P.M. – 2:30 P.M., every Monday.
- Let’s Chill!: Four-Week Free Mindfulness Course. This course is designed to help students learn basic mindfulness practices including sitting meditation, moving meditation practices and awareness activities that help them cultivate a sense of presence, focus and equanimity. Sign up soon for courses starting October 24.
- Relaxation Room. The Relaxation Room is designed to help students improve their emotional and physical health, and currently features audio and video instruction on a variety of topics such as relaxation and meditation. To reserve the Relaxation Room, call the Counseling and Testing Center at 404-413-1640 or come to the Counseling and Testing Center
- Nutrition Counseling. Services include: diet and food record analysis, healthy nutrition, preventing and overcoming disordered eating and weight management
- Biofeedback. Biofeedback is a tool that helps individuals visualize how their biological systems work. For example, software can show individuals what their heart is doing and how basic changes in their breathing can influence their heart beat and overall health. At the Counseling and Testing Center, students can learn how to physically lower their stress levels and achieve a better state of being.