Luckily, mental health is a topic that is gaining more and more publicity as college campuses are progressing. USC has so many resources for people to seek help or to give help to those in need. It seems there is such a positive outlook on it and everyone is so supportive! But, when it comes down to it, the help and support that you need is harder to find than we imagine.
The first issue is the difficulty to find the resources that you might need. I was able to attend a focus group held by the Jed Foundation, in order for the organization to gain a better grasp on what the climate is like at campuses when it comes to mental health. The focus group was extremely helpful in getting other people's honest perspectives about how mental health is perceived on campus. I learned that there are so many different resources based on different issues, but no one really knows about them. The most well-known place to get counseling was the health center, but apparently, if they are unsure of how to handle an issue, it is referred out to somewhere else. However, the issue of insurance comes up with the patient, making it even more difficult to seek help. As mental health patients, it is difficult enough to seek help, so the resources have to be well known, otherwise, it is just too easy to ignore the issues.
The next thing, and most important in my opinion, is the competitive culture that comes with a prestigious private university. Everyone is so driven and so hardworking that there is almost a stigma against not being able to keep up with the stress. Almost everyone I know is constantly stressed out and sleep deprived and that takes a huge toll on people's health, both mental and physical. Not only that, but people with anxiety struggle when participation is such a huge part of the grade. It takes a lot for people to participate in class, while others can easily speak up in front of the class.
The last issue brought to my attention is that professors aren't being as approachable as they should be for their students. Now since it is only my first semester at USC, I don't have the full credibility to speak on this subject. However, I wouldn't really feel comfortable telling some of my professors that I need a mental health day or that I was falling behind because of mental health issues.
As mental health becomes more and more recognized, there are definitely ways USC is doing amazing things to help by providing resources and creating the culture of a Trojan family. The biggest thing we need to realize is that people with mental health issues are going through so much, that the idea of seeking out help can be too overwhelming. As a student body and as a school, we can do a better job of sharing what we know about resources on campus. Together, we can help our friends get the help they need in a time like this.