Dear GCU, Please Expand Your Mental Health Facility

Dear GCU, Maybe Instead Of Expanding Your Campus, You Should Focus On Expanding Your Mental Health Facility

Arizona State University has a pretty impressive mental health area....

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Did you know that one-in-four college students have a diagnosable mental illness? Or that more than 40 percent of college students have felt more than the average amount of stress in the past year? Do you realize that 80 percent of college students have felt so overwhelmed by everything they had to do and that 45 percent have felt that things were hopeless? Does it surprise you that 73 percent of students living with a mental health condition experienced a mental health-related issue and that 34.2 percent said that their college didn't know anything about it?

You don't need the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) reading you these statistics; you have probably felt them yourself sometime in your college career. College is a pressure cooker of anxiety and stress among all students and it only seems to get worse with time. You hear more stories about students dropping out, failing out, or taking a year off to work on their mental stability. Each year, more students have breakdowns and the number of people we lose to suicide is climbing rapidly.

Because of this, many colleges have implemented their own counseling services and advocate greatly for mental health. Arizona State University, for instance, is a great example of a college that cares for their students' mental health. Jan Hamilton, a nurse practitioner and owner of Doorways, a mental health clinic in Phoenix said that ASU has a "large and beautiful facility, with many counselors available to help." She emphasized how great the school is doing at helping students with their mental health.

However, when compared to the Grand Canyon University counseling and mental health services, GCU seems to fall short. I didn't even know Grand Canyon University offered counseling until Doorways told me about their partnership. I shouldn't have to hear about my own university's mental health clinic from an outside source.

With few counselors and pushed out appointment times, it will often take students weeks and months to possibly get an appointment. Often, students have to result getting outside help or suffering through a few months of mental pain until they can get to a counselor.

While I know Grand Canyon University means well, and has their students' best interest at heart, they need to stop building apartments, dorms, food places, and instead focus on expanding their mental health facility. A great start would be by hiring more counselors, implementing a crisis service, and having an easily found mental health page on the Grand Canyon University webpage. Having an FAQ geared toward counseling, common student concerns, hours, important phone numbers (such as a crisis hotline), location, and symptoms listed for mental illnesses are great stepping stones to promoting better mental health for students.

As Grand Canyon University grows and expands, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of building new buildings and getting new cuisine and forget about some of the other things. As mental health becomes less stigmatized and anxiety and depression rates go up, it is important to recognize it on campus and have the proper facilities available for students.

It shouldn't be normal to break down in tears every other day or have to miss class because you are unmotivated to get out of bed. With suicide as the third leading cause of death on college campuses and more than 45 percent of young adults who stopped going to college because of mental health, having a campus-based mental health service and support is vital.

I hope that Grand Canyon University grows its mental health center as more students continue to enroll. It will help students immensely with their health, education, and to find their purpose.

[If you're struggling with depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, stress, anxiety, grief, eating disorders, abuse, bullying, PTSD, or any other mental health issue, text a trained crisis counselor 24/7 at the Crisis Text Line or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255]

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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10 Tips To Prepare For Your Freshman Year Of College

Tips and tricks for college freshman year.

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Obviously, I am not an expert on college life yet, being that I am only a high school senior. Barely hanging on these last couple weeks of school. I have been preparing for my freshman year of college since the start of my senior year. It is an overwhelming, stressful process and it takes a lot of preparation and time to get it all done. I wanted to give some tips and advice on how I started my process and how I have gotten through it. Starting a new chapter can be really scary, especially if you have no idea what you are doing, I am the oldest sibling in my family, and I am the first to go through this crazy process called college. Though I was uncertain exactly what I needed to do and how to do it, I figured it out and here's how I did it.

1. Have a planner

This is going to be your best friend. It helps you keep your life organized (or at least it makes you feel like you do) and assures you that you meet deadlines. Since I can remember I have always used a planner and it helps me so much. I wouldn't know what to do without it. I have all the dates for when things need to be turned in- like housing and such, and also I have up to when classes start next fall. A planner is so helpful and would recommend getting one if you don't have one already.

2. Talk to friends about their experience

This has honestly been one of the top life savors. I have gotten so much advice from my friends that are in college and they give me the inside scoop and what to do and what not to do.

3. Do your research

Research the school, research clubs and activities that you may be interested in. Get familiar with what is on and off campus.

4. Visit the campus

Photo by Olivia Holler

I am lucky enough that I am only an hour and a half away from campus and it doesn't take long to get there so I just go when I feel like it. But visiting and being on campus several times defiantly has made me feel more comfortable and more at ease than I would be if I had not visited at all.

5. Embrace times with friends and family

Photo By Olivia Holler

This is the last summer with you In your house as a full time member. Embrace it! Be with your friends and family as much as you can. You are going to miss them just as much as you are going to miss them.

6. Start doing things on your own

I am already pretty independent but I struggled like starting to make my own dinners because I have been fortunate enough where my parent always took care of dinner. But now they are making me responsible for making my own dinner. Which was a really tough life altering thing for me. It may not seem like it but it was for me. But start doing your own laundry. making your own dinner, getting things yourself etc.

7. Make list

This and my planner have been my saving grace. If I didn't have it there was going to be no progress on the thing called college.

8. Manage your time

This is pretty self explanatory, there is a lot to do during the college process. Be sure not to procrastinate and know when things are due so you can get everything on time.

9. Take summer classes if needed

If you know you are going to be behind in a class, take some summer classes. For example, I am a little behind in math, and I have to take all the way up to college algebra in order to graduate college. Well, I knew I didn't want to take math all four years of college and I knew I was behind. So I am taking some summer courses to not only finish with math earlier but just to be ahead of the game.

10.  Gather everything you need for college!

Make sure you have everything you need for the big day. Set apart some days before move in day to take time and pack whatever you may need so you don't forget anything.

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