Story by ISABELLA BUOSCIO
Anxiety and depression are not uncommon mental disorders. However, some college students do not have the tools or are not comfortable dealing with these disorders. According to a report by the American Psychological Association <https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/numbers>, “61 percent of college students seeking counseling report anxiety, while 49 percent report depression.”
While anxiety and depression are prevalent in the student population, there is still a negative stigma around going to therapy to get help. With the rise of social media, it seems others have perfect lives and are happy always. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat are only snapshots of the best moments of someone’s life. The viewer is not seeing what is going on behind the scenes.
It’s hard to admit you need help. Whether its fear of confronting the issue, fear of being judged by the therapist or society, or fear of diagnosis there always is an excuse for not going to therapy. There is nothing wrong with needing help to deal with complex emotions. Therapy can be a beneficial thing for everyone, especially college students.
In a phone interview, Annmarie Flock, a licensed Summit County therapist, says during her sessions she tries to meet the patient “where they are at without judgment.”
“I try helping them find the words to define what is wrong,” she says, “then address how they can get through the immediate crisis and help them build the tools to deal with it over time.”
She suggests ways of coping such as medication, meditation, physical activity, changing behavior patterns, breathing exercises, finding a support system, mantras, living in the present, having a plan for when things are really dark and, most important, making an agreement to not hurt self or others.
“It’s natural to roll through dark periods, sometimes things work, and you grow out of them, some things work in different situations. The goal of therapy is to give the patient the tools to be able to safely handle the situation on their own,” Flock says.
Zoe Baukman, a first-year student, came to the University of Utah while being in a harmful relationship with her previous significant other. She said, “The situation developed negatively enough that my mental health was affected.” The stress of dealing with the person while trying to adjust to starting college was too much for her to handle.
Baukman continued, “I was in a really dark place for the first couple months of school. I had a difficult time making friends because I was so busy talking to this person, the emotional stress got too much for me and I felt trapped.” It was when Baukman started missing classes and assignments that she decided to seek guidance. Her mom could tell she was struggling and scheduled an appointment with a local therapist.
She was scared to go because she didn’t feel comfortable opening up to a stranger. Baukman confessed, “I was shaking as I walked into my appointment.” When she sat down with the trained mental health professional, she realized how toxic her situation was. She remembers crying the entire first session due to finally accepting she needed help. “I knew I needed help in the back of my mind, but I didn’t know how to get it,” she confessed.
However, therapy isn’t only for people dealing with previous trauma. Addi Poddska, a second-year student, goes to therapy to have someone to talk to. “Talking to someone who doesn’t know me in my social circles is nice because I don’t have to worry about judgment from my peers.” “I am not the type to cry but I usually end up crying in my sessions, it feels good,” Poddska joked.
Poddska goes to therapy to talk about pressure with friendships, struggles with her family and anxiety about getting into medical school. She admitted, “I go once a month to let myself accept my fears and doubts. It’s like a cleanse, I feel more focused after I go.”
For those not wanting to pay for expensive therapy, the University of Utah offers a University Counseling Center. According to the center’s mission statement < https://counselingcenter.utah.edu/>, “We provide developmental, preventive, and therapeutic services and programs that promote the intellectual, emotional, cultural, and social development of University of Utah students.” The center provides individual counseling, group counseling, couple’s counseling, psychiatric medication services, a mindfulness center, and crisis services.
As for price, the website states, “The first counseling session (“intake appointment”) is free as you and your intake counselor consider the fit between your goals and the Center’s services.” From there, individual counseling, medication, and management cost $12 a session, group counseling and workshops costs $5 a session, and couples counseling costs $30 a session.
All the sessions are treated confidentially. As the website says, “The fact that you are receiving counseling services, as well as the specific content of your UCC counseling, assessment, or psychiatric record(s), is confidential.” To get started, you can schedule an intake by calling 801-581-6826 or by going to the center in Room 426 of the Student Services Building.