Guest Column: Stop the Stigma

“If you go to counseling, you’re crazy and weak.” Negative, yet common, stigmas like this are associated with counseling and therapy, and cause many people in need to not seek help or treatment. Often times, we are taught that if we need therapeutic help, we’re crazy, we’re weak and we have issues. NEWS FLASH: Everyone’s a little crazy, and everyone has issues. Those who deny it are lying to you and themselves.

Unfortunately, I was originally one of those people who believed the negative stigma associated with therapy. I was the type to think “I can handle it on my own,” or “Oh well, I’ll get over it eventually.” I can’t cry in front of people, I can’t show any signs of emotional stress, and I have to look happy and put together all the time, or I’m being weak and overly dramatic. However, it is okay not to always be okay. We all need someone to talk to sometimes and an ear to listen. Thanks to some awesome health and wellness ambassadors on campus, I was able to learn this lesson.

Moreover, these ambassadors provided my class with resources to handle and decrease stress, as well as resources to seek professional help for our stress. I was not aware that the school offered 12 free counseling sessions, and had a specially designed room for relaxation.

This relaxation room is equipped with a reclining chair, zen gardens, and a fountain. Also, counseling sessions are available from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. from Monday through Friday. These counselors are trained to listen to you, and they have to keep your secrets. That’s like having the perfect best friend at your service!

Many major issues today are related to a lack of mental health programs or attention towards promoting good mental health. Mental health does not necessarily mean you have a disorder or problematic diagnosis, it simply refers to emotional, psychological and social well-being. Everyone needs to focus on their mental health for their own well-being. By no means am I saying we all need to see therapists and have regular counseling sessions; however, we do need to STOP the negative stigmas associated with therapist and counseling and understand that seeking help is perfectly okay. Society cannot continue to keep judging the ones who do decide to get help, nor judge the process before giving it a chance. Who are you to judge someone for seeking help and bettering their well-being?

The wonderful thing about emotions is that they are temporary. Sure, sometimes you will get sad, but guess what… you’ll also be happy! And if you aren’t feeling your best, it is perfectly alright to seek professional help along the road to happiness for a quicker, better journey. Although I have not personally been to therapy, I am not opposed to going and would be willing to try. I was taught a quote that states,” You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” How can you expect to give your all and pour yourself into the daily activities of your life, if you yourself are empty? You can’t. Take care of yourself. Make your mental health a priority. And lastly… to close this off on a very informal, yet relatable affirmation, ” Do you boo boo. Do you!”