Society views mental health with a hypocritical eye, pretending that “it’s okay to not be okay” when, in reality, it’s still something people won’t admit they fear.
As much as Murray State would like to be an outlier in that fact, it simply isn’t. While many opportunities are offered on campus for those suffering from mental health issues, most students don’t realize that the school offers those services.
Not only does it offer those services, but it offers them completely free of charge.
Of course, students cannot be blamed for being unaware of these opportunities, the University doesn’t advertise for them. Just a teensy little pamphlet (if that) at the beginning of each school year and they send us on our anxious little way.
We live in an age of “make believe.” The society around us constantly tells us that it is okay to feel down, to feel numb, to not even know what you’re feeling. They tell us that, but when we come to them, crying and on our knees because we don’t know what is happening inside of our own head, they turn away and pretend that we aren’t there.
Society pats us on the shoulder and says, “Everyone gets stressed sometimes,” as if they know it’s as simple as that.
As frustrating as it is that Murray State doesn’t advertise their mental health services more, it is comforting to know that the community on campus is much more welcoming to those suffering than the rest of the world.
Murray State offers counseling at the Oakley Applied Science Building. The Counseling Center is completely free for students. The only people who have to know that you utilize those services are you and your counselor.
Most of the counselors have already completed their schooling, and a select few are graduate students getting experience before they officially enter the workforce.
Wells Hall is home to the Psychological Center on campus, where students can see clinicians about their struggles.
Both the Counseling Center and the Psychological Center are great opportunities with counselors that are wonderful at what they do. Students will never feel pressured to talk about anything they don’t want to and the counselors themselves excel in learning a student’s background and treating them with nothing but respect.
The Counseling Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and welcomes walk-ins. Staff are also on hand for phone calls from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The University also works with students who’ve been facing their anxiety, depression and other struggles through the Student Disability Services housed on the third floor of Wells Hall.
This is where students can go to get permission to have service animals and emotional support animals on campus. It’s also a great resource for those facing other challenges who might need other accommodations.
Another phenomenal opportunity offered by the University is monthly pet therapy. The Humane Society works with Murray State to bring in dogs, cats and even rabbits to Alexander Hall. Students can come in at any time the event is running and destress through some cuddle time.
While these opportunities are excellent and the campus is generally great about mental health and its stigma, there is still so much that can be done.
The University needs to promote the opportunities it offers more than it does now. They do no one any good if people aren’t even aware of their existence. Once students learn about them, that’s when they can put them to use.
Finding help is such an important aspect of confronting your own mental health. Murray State has opened this opportunity up, now it just needs to be advertised.
Raising awareness for mental health and its importance is another step that needs to be taken. Holding events specifically meant to make students aware of the struggles going on around themselves and that they could even be facing on their own is a great start.
Raising that awareness is the greatest thing we as a university can do to change the stigma on mental health.