As the semester nears its end, many UT students say they’re experiencing anxiety at an all-time high, driving more traffic to the Counseling and Mental Health Center.
The busiest times at the CMHC are during the last months of each semester, said Katy Redd, director of outreach for CMHC. But in recent years, Redd said there’s been an overall escalation in the number of students visiting the center.
“The demand for counseling and mental services has increased 77% over the last eight years,” Redd said. “Across the nation, most college counseling centers are experiencing an increase in demand in their services.”
Anxiety-related concerns are the number one reason students come into the CMHC, Redd said.
“About 76% of students who come in indicate anxiety is one of (the) reasons,” Redd said. “Stress is the number two reason, followed by depression.”
Nursing sophomore Evan Mondebello said students feel especially stressed around finals. He said this time is “the make or break it” point with grades for a lot of people, which can cause an overwhelming amount of anxiety.
“As we get to the week of the tests, that’s when all of the stress really starts to hit,” Mondebello said. “It’s almost so stressful it’s funny.”
Mondebello said he feels uninformed about the mental health resources available at the CMHC.
“I feel like it should be taught and given to me and I shouldn’t have to seek that information out,” Mondebello said. “It should be available (to) me.”
Redd said any student who comes into the CMHC will first speak with a member of the brief assessment and referral team. This team member will discuss and evaluate the student’s needs and come up with a plan that is tailored specifically to them. The plan may include meeting with a counselor for a certain period of time if there is availability, attending a group counseling session or seeing someone in the community outside of UT, Redd said.
“We’re always available for students experiencing a crisis,” Redd said.
Redd said if a student needs immediate help, the CMHC will have someone available for the student to talk to.
However, there are not enough CMHC counselors for every student who walks in to have routine sessions.
“All of our services are offered at no cost to students with the exception of psychiatry, which is $10,” Redd said.
Business freshman Ethan Chase said the hardest part of adjusting to college is carving out time for yourself.
“In college, everything happens at once, like social stuff, homework, exams, projects, hobbies, passions,” Chase said. “A little stress is good because it motivates you, but too much stress is very bad for your health.”
Chase said mental health should be taken seriously.
“I don’t think mental health should be stigmatized, so if people need (help), they should go seek it,” Chase said.