People with mental health issues don’t know where to turn
Recent studies suggest the mental health crisis in the U.S. is growing, with a number of youth being negatively affected.
On Monday, The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that one in five Californian students surveyed by their school districts claimed to have thought about killing themselves in recent years. The research was conducted by the Southern California News Group.
Some of these kids claimed to develop these conditions during high school, which then worsened when they left for college. According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, “Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide.”
The organization added, “Depression affects 20-25 percent of Americans ages 18+ in a given year.” In addition, The Conversation also reported, “Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 university students are affected with anxiety or depression.”
The term “mental illness” gets thrown around a lot in our society, but what is it? The American Psychiatric Association defines mental illness as, “health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.” Breaking it down, you can develop some sort of mental illness by having a hard time at work, constantly fighting with your parents or having little to no interaction with the outside world.
Additionally, some people might be unaware they are suffering mentally. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, some things to look for when an individual might be suffering from a mental illness are; increased alcohol and drug use, aggressive behavior, withdrawal from friends, family and community, dramatic mood swings and impulsive or reckless behavior.
Moreover, there are some aspects of life that naturally put people at a higher risk of developing a mental illness. Some of these aspects consist of: a family history of suicide, substance abuse (drugs can create mental highs and lows that worsen suicidal thoughts), intoxication (more than one in three people who die from suicide are under the influence of alcohol at the time of death), access to firearms, a serious or chronic medical illness, gender (although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide), a history of trauma or abuse, prolonged stress and a recent tragedy or loss.
Someone who has experienced any of these events in their life is likely to develop depression, anxiety and others.
At Azusa Pacific, students might want to get help or direct a friend in the right direction, you have many places to turn.
First, anyone can turn to the Counseling Center, located in the Shire Mods. According to the APU website, the center “offers students the opportunity to look at themselves and their environment and to change the way they think, feel and behave so that they can make the most of their time at APU.” Some programs they offer are; individual counseling, couples counseling, premarital counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention and training and educational workshops. People can make an appointment in person or online.
Second, students can visit the Office of Campus Ministry. Sometimes, it is nice to talk to another trained Christain about some issues. People who visit the office may be experiencing difficulties in their lives, but knowing that someone is there to talk to and pray with can be beneficial. On their site, one of their main missions says, “It is our desire to encourage you toward increasing spiritual maturity, offer pastoral care and opportunities for discipleship-focused relationships, and contribute to a growing understanding of the interrelationship of scholarship and discipleship.”
Third, if you may be a bit timid to approach either of these options, your on-campus residence advisor is also a great resource. It’s an RA’s goal to be there for their residents. RA’s are there to lend their ear, shoulder and support. They can also point you in the right direction of other resources for additional support.
These hotlines are also always available:
The American Foundation for Suicide Preventio: (888) 333-2377
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): (240) 485-1001
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA): (800) 826-3632
National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED): (800) 931-2237
Sidran Institute: (410) 825-8888
If you or someone you know is suffering from the thought of suicide or some sort of mental illness, please reach out for help.