Seeking help for mental health

Davy Fargo

Jayita Datta, a psychologist at Kent State’s Psychological Services, discussed mental health with students during the “Diversity in Mental Health” event Wednesday night.

“Everyone ignores the first signs of anxiety,” Datta said. “Just don’t ignore the first concerns – if you can manage the first concerns, you’ll be better off.”

The event, held in the Kiva, began with a short video that featured different Kent State students discussing mental health.

As one commenter in the video described it, college can be a stressful time for students.

“It’s a flurry of emotions, and its key that you know how you’re doing mentally,” she said. “People are afraid to vulnerable.”

Students at the event were informed that one in 10 young people experience a mental health problem and that 67 percent of Kent students reported being very sad.

The goal of the event was to de-stigmatize mental problems and to provide helpful tips for overcoming mental problems.

As students listened, Datta shared how she had come to the U.S. from India 14 years ago and took 23 credit hours in pursuit of her degree. It was so overwhelming that her mental health was not the best, and she began overeating, she said.

If you have a full credit hour load, a job and are a part of five groups on campus, you probably have too much and should prioritize instead, she said. She said time management is very important – we need to say no when we don’t have time.

Anxiety is a very common mental health problem, but chief physiologist Pamela Farer-Singleton, the second keynote speaker, said students are still hesitant to come to counseling.

“We do a lot of listening,” she said. “We talk about real details of your life, where you were born and raised.”

Maddie Swickard, a attended the event because she suffers with bi-polar disorder and was hoping to get some practical tips.

“I thought it sounded interesting,” she said. “It’s nice that they’re doing stuff like this here.”

Gabrielle Wewer attends Late Night, a campus Christian group, and was at the event with other Late Night staff members because she wanted to see what kinds of things students are thinking about and suffering with.

“We decided to come see what this was about to so we can have a better understanding of what our campus and how we can help the people here,” she said.

A panel of current Kent students answered questions and disclosed to the audience personal events that overwhelm them, like shopping in messy stores, riding in cars and being anxious to please others.

One panel member shared a practical tip: “I worry about other people. [It helps] if I think about other people instead of myself.”

Students can get help at the Kent’s psychological services or at www.kent.edu/pysch.

Davy Fargo is a student life reporter, contact her at [email protected]