My Mental Health Matters

by Ranbir Gill

Managing mental health while going through the stresses and transformative changes of “adulting” throughout higher education is a dilemma that many people do not prepare college students for. It is a given that college is going to lead to stress from the work load and lead to varying emotions because of the challenges and opportunities that come with this phase in life. From attempting to perform well in school, create and maintain a social life, to trying to map out the blueprint for one’s future career: navigating through this journey can put a lot mental stress on the mind.

…and many times I heard the phrase “You’ll figure it out.”

During my last two years at the University of Pittsburgh, I found myself more than just stressed. Especially senior year of college, I felt a monumental pressure of not knowing which direction I wanted my career path to go or what direction it should go. I felt like an immensely small fish swimming through an ocean I had never witnessed after graduating from Pitt. This pressure never went away, and everyone offered their own input of how they found their answers, and many times I heard the phrase “you’ll figure it out.” However, it was in graduate school that I recognized my personal cloud of unfamiliarity with the “real” world was not simply because I was like any other person my age attempting to find my sense of direction. But that there were deeper things I was never taught to take care of, such as my mental health, that made me feel like a broken compass.

There is constant pressure to meet goals, deadlines and complete tasks. However, taking care of the mind is one of the biggest components in accomplishing anything effectively. There were many times throughout my journey in college, where I was dealing with immense anxiety that moving out of bed was the biggest accomplishment I could perform. I also have found myself having to label myself as sick in order to miss a class when truly I could not move out of bed because of my mental health it made it beyond impossible to want to attend class or study. Over time I have found my own mechanisms of coping with mental health, but throughout this journey I barely had any resources upfront. Even when attempting to seek out a counselor to speak to at school, the process can take many weeks because of the high demand and low availability.

I think the general taboo against openly discussing mental health and acknowledging that people need to heal their minds is a big issue nationwide.Based by a stat from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental illness), “75 percent of lifetime case of mental health conditions begin by age 24,” and that is a primary age when people tend to attend graduate school. So, more than ever I think there is need for a greater outward awareness of taking care of mental health while attending college. I think the general taboo against openly discussing mental health and acknowledging that people need to heal their minds is a big issue nationwide. Universities and college campuses can be a pivotal place to openly create dialogue about the reality and needs of mental health. My mental health is just as important as my physical health, and it correlates to my performance, so I hope we continue to further conversations on this topic.

As a closing note, here are a few resources available for Duquesne students who want to maintain or improve their mental health.