Local mental health services available to students

Sarah Lorenz

Avery Millis is among the 85 percent of college students who report feeling overwhelmed during the semester, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

Millis, a junior criminology and justice studies major, spends every day training with Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in addition to attending school full-time.

“It’s really hard to prioritize classes,” Millis said. “Grades are important, but my time and effort go to ROTC.”

The ADAA reports that 75 percent of U.S. adults will experience an anxiety attack before the age of 22.

Stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, work and illness are the leading stressors for college students according to the American College Health Association (ACHA).

Elijah Webb, a junior computer science major, trains with the Air Force ROTC and struggles the most with time management. He suffers from sleeplessness, headaches and high stress before tests.

“I have missed advising appointment opportunities to attend important classes,” Webb said. “Unfortunately, skipping meetings has affected me when scheduling classes.”

Webb is among the 41.6 percent of students who said anxiety is their leading concern, according to the ADAA. 

“I will not sacrifice my sleep; I’d rather let my grades suffer than pull an all-nighter,” Webb said.

Access to mental health services is local and affordable for Kent students and community members.

Kent State offers an online mental health screening test for students concerned they have depression, anxiety or an eating disorder. On-campus options, like the Counseling and Human Development Center and Psychological Clinic, offer free counseling to Kent State students, faculty and staff.

“I reached out to counseling services last semester to elevate some stress,” Millis said. “I learned my mental health is most important during my college experience.”

Executive Director Joel Mowrey and his team on the Mental Health & Recovery Board (MHRB) work to help adults, teens and children with mental illness. It is a part of the 53 community mental health boards in Ohio.

“We need to break down the artificial boundaries between mental health issues and physical health,” Mowrey said. “We all have mental health problems, just in varying degrees.”

The MHRB offers referrals to assistance programs with federal, state and local levy dollars. These include organizations like Job and Family Services, Children’s Advantage, Townhall 2 and many more. The MHRB allocates money for medicine, crisis hotlines and counseling services.

Mowrey shares the importance of seeking help for students and community members who have experienced trauma in their life.

“Mental health is a public health problem, not a criminal problem,” Mowrey said. “It can happen to anyone and there is no shame in seeking help.”

Another option for treatment is Coleman Professional Services (CPS). CPS is a nonprofit provider of mental health services and behavioral rehabilitation programs for children, youth and adults, and is funded by MHRB with grants and tax levies to support mental health services. The northeast Ohio location covers eight counties: Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Jefferson, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull.

Tom Hatch, chief officer for resource and business development of CPS, says they serve over 24,000 people each year.

“I estimate 79 percent of people we serve are making below $60,000 a year,” Hatch said. “CPS assists all regardless of financial income.”

Its mission is fostering recovery with free access to services. CPS also helps build independence for homeless and mentally ill people with permanent places to live by helping them find jobs.

“Delaying treatment is very dangerous, but seeking help could save your life or someone you love,” Hatch said.

The MHRB also offers internship opportunities for journalism students; contact Director of Community Relations, Karyn Hall, for more information.

Sarah Lorenz is the downtown and neighborhoods reporter, contact her at [email protected].