The National College Health Assessment survey reported that one in six college students had been diagnosed with, or treated for, anxiety in 2014.
On April 5, 300 students, staff and faculty participated in a campus wellness screening organized by an abnormal psychology class taught by Christopher Davids, assistant professor of psychology.
Students in the class organized the wellness screening across campus, implementing screening stations with surveys and resources in multiple locations.
Davids said he wanted to bring an element of service learning to his class.
“Since we’re talking about psychological disorders, I thought it would be important for the students to select and implement a screening as a way of connecting and reaching out to the community, but also to help destigmatize mental illness,” Davids said.
Mariah Brown, a student in Davids’ class, said the students were around campus, not only to screen for mental illness, but also to shed light on the stigma around mental health. All the students involved with the screening wore purple T-shirts with “END THE STIGMA” written across them.
“There’s a lot of stigma around mental health in particular and anxiety, and as college students, it’s kind of typical for us to experience a lot of anxiety,” Brown said. “Like our T-shirts say, we just want to end the stigma and want people to be open about talking about it and feeling more comfortable being like, ‘Hey, you’re not the only one,’ type of thing.”
Davids, psychology professor, also addressed the stigma attached to mental health and illness.
“As a community, I think that, as a whole, we have a difficult time openly talking about mental illness or just even when we’re struggling emotionally in any type of way,” Davids said. “We usually like to keep that private, and I think it’s important to have conversation so we can get comfortable around these ideas and realize everybody’s experiences. Because even though it is pretty invisible, there is a lot that happens on campus around mental health, and we want to help normalize that as well as give support.”
Davids said there are multiple ways students can find support on campus, including resources at the Counseling Center, through Resident Advisors and setting up plans and assistance with personnel in Student Affairs.
Students who did and didn’t participate in the wellness screening can access resources on campus at the Counseling Center in the basement of the Shaw Student Center. The Counseling Center is free for students and takes appointments.