Following National Mental Health Week, the UniversitY Counseling Center (UCC) was on the Cougar Walk on Oct. 2 promoting resources available to students to manage their mental health.
Many students took the opportunity to talk to representatives and counselors from UCC and filled out a mental health screening form.
“Students have been really receptive, really appreciative of having the screenings,” UCC counselor Kelsey Penner said. “It gives them an opportunity to assess how they’re feeling and where that puts them on a depression/anxiety inventory, so that they’re then able to figure out what resources they have available to them that could potentially benefit their emotional well-being.”
Research conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness has shown that one in four students have a diagnosable illness, 40 percent do not seek help, 80 percent feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and 50 percent have been so anxious that they’ve struggled in school.
The UCC helps students address these issues, as well as concerns about who they are and what they believe in. The Counseling Center’s mission is to “[empower] the students of Azusa Pacific University to realize their personal and academic potential by promoting psychological, social and spiritual wellness through Christian counseling and outreach services.”
“We tend to be more solution-focused, but we can offer continuous resources and referrals as needed,” licensed UCC psychologist Linda Abdelsayed said. “We also have three-week stress management workshops, and we have group therapy options that typically run in the spring covering different topics based on what people want and need.”
Abdelsayed explained that the purpose of the event was to help students better understand themselves, their emotions and how they compare themselves to their peers.
“We’ve had a great response today,” Abdelsayed said. “The students are really interested in bettering themselves and living fuller, more peaceful lives.”
Senior psychology major Genna Hanes visited the booth for more information about her field of study, as well as for her personal interest.
“My experience at the booth was really positive,” Hanes said. “Mental health has such a stigma in this day and age, so it’s important that [awareness] gets out there. It’s okay to have a mental disorder or to have problems, but the important thing is to seek help and seek support. I’m really happy that APU is offering this sort of support.”
In addition to the event, UCC is also promoting mental health on their Facebook page: Azusa Pacific University Wellness. Followers of this page will receive updates with information on mental and physical health, encouraging and motivational posts, as well as any events or opportunities regarding personal wellness on campus.
The UCC is located in Magnolia Court and is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the exception of 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The UCC is available to assist students coping with stress, seeking advice about personal relationships and/or other specific areas of concern like depression, anxiety or identity.
For more information about the University Counseling Center, visit www.apu.edu/counselingcenter.