From the pandemic to the election, people everywhere have a good reason to be stressed out in 2020. At Brandeis, students can feel stressed even at the best of times and taking midterms in the middle of a pandemic can feel comically terrible. With everything going on in the world, some people choose to prioritize other aspects of their life, pushing mental health to the backseat. But especially during a pandemic, making your mental health a priority is crucial.
Approximately one-third of Americans display symptoms of clinical anxiety or depression, according to a new Census Bureau survey published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and conducted during the pandemic. The pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health, even potentially increasing suicide rates.
There are a few steps people can take to improve mental health on their own, like reaching out to family and friends, eating right, exercising, sleeping well and practicing mindfulness meditation. You can also create a daily routine with something to look forward to each day or schedule a time to think about your concerns and potential solutions, instead of worrying excessively throughout the day, according to an article by The Guardian.
Oftentimes, professional support is necessary. This may seem daunting for people who do not have previous experience with mental health services, but do not allow insecurities or apprehension to keep you from seeking out help if you need it.
The Brandeis Counseling Center (BCC) and the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion (HAWP) are not currently offering in-person services, but these organizations are still providing students with a number of helpful virtual programs, including online workshops for both undergraduate and graduate students. The BCC offers individual and group therapy in addition to urgent care, which prioritizes appointments for people with an immediate need. They also offer assistance with medication, evaluation and management. You can make an appointment by calling the office of the BCC.
Financial costs of therapy are one of the many reasons people may choose not to get help. If you are concerned about financial barriers, be sure to reach out to the BCC to discuss your options. You can also seek help from off-campus providers if that feels more comfortable for you or if you do not want to wait for an appointment at the BCC.
There is a stigma around mental health that has been ingrained in our society for far too long. In reality, experiencing mental health problems does not make you weak or unbalanced. Seeking the help that you need and utilizing the resources that are available to you is commendable and should not be viewed as shameful by others. Particularly during a pandemic, everyone’s mental health is suffering. The most important step you can take is to seek out help if you need it.
For life-threatening emergencies, which includes serious thoughts of suicide, you can call Brandeis Public Safety at 781-736-3333 if you are on campus or 911 if you are off campus.
For those needing immediate professional help, please see the following information. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. The Spanish language number is 1-866-628-9454, the number for the deaf and hard of hearing is 1-800-799-4889 and the number for veterans is 1-800-273-8255.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741 or calling 800-273-TALK (8255).
To make an appointment at the Brandeis Counseling Center, call 781-736-3730 to reach the front desk.