Posted January 13, 2016 by Cooper Point Journal in Campus Life

Student Mental Health

The Evergreen Group Will Have Meetings Beginning by the End of February

By Chloe Marina Manchester

Here at Evergreen, there are clubs and organizations for most things you can think of. One group that tends to be missing from these are students with mental health issues. In the past there have been student groups for mentally ill students, this year, there are none. Yet.

Sammy Alcock, a first year student at Evergreen is trying to change that. Though currently still in the building stages, Alcock wants to have the group up and running by the end of February, with meetings either weekly or bimonthly.

“I think that the school needs more resources for students who struggle with mental illness, anxiety, etc. I believe it would be helpful for students to have a place where they can get support and not feel judged or misunderstood,” says Alcock. This group could be vital to students who have no other outlet to speak about their experiences and learn more about mental health. For students who may be intimidated by going to the counseling center or of other professional help, this could provide support from peers.

The proposed group will serve as a safe space for students to support each other and learn about mental illnesses.

The group is not necessarily meant to replace or act as group therapy for the members. The meetings won’t have a predetermined form, what happens will largely depend on the members, according to Alcock, “the group is meant to be very student-driven to meet the needs of its participants.”As for what meetings might entail Alcock has some ideas, including but are not limited to, talk groups, self care workshops, and educational meetings.

Many have found mental health care services in the United States to be lacking; often people who are in need of help do not receive adequate care or become victims of psychiatric abuses. Psychiatric care is largely inaccessible to many people, especially those from underprivileged groups. Some insurances will not cover necessary medications, therapy, or hospitalizations for people in need and so illnesses go untreated which can ruin lives. Even people with access to mental health care often face unwelcoming communities, discrimination, and ostracization. The mental health group on campus will try and fight the stigma of mental illness.

Mental health care on college campuses are often woefully lacking. Often counseling centers are unable to treat people with issues beyond depression and anxiety, which leaves many people scrambling for help. Being unable to get help and the stress of having to work out what to do can often exacerbate the pre-existing mental health issues they are already facing.

The proposed student mental health care group would provide a safe haven to talk to others with similar problems and find resources in the community and on campus. The group is not going to be limited to those who have mental health issues and will welcome allies to join meetings. As Alcock put it, “this is meant to be a safe space for all.”

Until the group is up and running, the Evergreen Counseling Center is there for students in need. The Evergreen Counseling Center has drop in hours every week day and offers a variety of services like consultation, support groups, resources, and individual counseling. Issues that are commonly seen and helped in the counseling center include, depression, anxiety, life adjustment issues, stress management, and eating disorders, to name just a few.

According to the Counseling Center’s website, “The Counseling Center provides confidential personal counseling, groups, information and referrals for Evergreen students who have paid the quarterly Student Health Fee.” Which means that students who have paid the fee are able to go to the Counseling Center and get help or information at no additional cost

If you or a friend is experiencing an emergency, the Crisis Clinic is available 24/7 at 586-2800.

Mental health care is hard to come by and hard to find support for, even among peers. Alcock hopes that this group can provide a support system for those who need it, and information for those who just want to help support others.