Chico State’s mental health problems are being ignored

It’s safe to say that Chico State students are busy. Classes, work, sports and clubs take up so much time. It’s easy to distract students from extremely important matters, such as personal mental health.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI, 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin by the age of 24, where one in four students may have a diagnosable illness. This is a problem and it’s being ignored.

NAMI writes that the top 5 mental health challenges that students are facing are depression, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders and addiction. Suicide is the third leading cause of death from youths between the ages of 10-24.

A lot of Chico state students often use the word depression and anxiety so loosely, as if it is similar to using an emotion word such as sad or angry, that it has almost lost its actual meaning.

This is insensitive to those who actually deal with mental health problems and it shows how students aren’t aware of this.

Junior Jasmine Delgado says she knew of mental illnesses but had no idea what exactly the symptoms were and how they affected people.

“Even when I started feeling symptoms, I didn’t know what I was feeling. It made me scared like there was something medically wrong with me and it wasn’t until I sought help that I was told why I was feeling what I felt,” says Delgado.

Caitlin Landaker, a third-year student, took a semester off of school because she was feeling symptoms of depression and had suicidal thoughts.

“I didn’t realize what it was, until after I saw someone at the counseling center. Just one session made me feel comfortable enough to open up and see that I’m not alone. These people are professionals who know how to work with students and it’s amazing what they can do to help,” says Landaker.

Chico State’s Counseling and Wellness Center has helped many students deal with mental health problems.

When thinking about mental illnesses, it’s easy to consider what many people hear in stories, movies, TV shows, etc. People who do not experience these illnesses may not think about the possible ways it can happen to them or someone close to them.

It wasn’t until my third-year of constantly distracting myself from my own personal life that I realized I personally was experiencing an illness.

Many people are afraid to be open up with concerns that other people will judge them for having such an illness, whatever it may be. With the right support, knowledge and resources, these students will understand that there are people on this campus, ready to support and help through this critical time.

It’s important to succeed academically, but to overwhelm oneself with constant loads of priorities and obligations, it’s easy to get lost in it all. Learn about yourself. Don’t ignore any symptoms and get yourself some help.

Rachel Reyes can be reached at [email protected] or @rachhreyes on Twitter.