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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies emphasize importance of mental health, share resources

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Photo by Aiden Shertzer

With Mental Health Awareness Month being observed throughout May, students are reminded and encouraged to prioritize their mental health. 

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Aggies are sharing strategies for caring for mental health as a student.
Originally started by the Mental Health America organization, Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed during the month of May since 1949. Texas A&M Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, as well as various student organizations centered around mental health offer resources year-round, especially during stressful times like finals season.
CAPS director Mary Ann Covey, Ph.D., said prioritizing mental health is a choice that people have to continually make.
“I think there’s an exhaustion part of it where people have given up in some way,” Covey said. “We’re really trying to get [students] to recognize that there are skills they can use that can contribute to their mental health.”
When students share that they are frustrated with their experience of CAPS, Covey said it is because they want someone to fix them, rather than teach them how to help themselves.
“The idea of not taking control of your mental health includes using language like ‘I have anxiety, or I have depression,’” Covey said. “Language like that means you have no control over it, and it often just takes over.”
In regards to taking care of one’s mental health, Covey said there is a misunderstanding of types of care methods which can be useful.
“When they hear about mental health, some people will say, ‘Oh, do you mean getting a massage or getting my nails done?’ And I’m not against those things, but when I’m talking about mental health management, I’m talking about discipline, I’m talking about getting enough sleep,” Covey said.
Covey said CAPS offers different services depending on the time of year.
“We tend to focus on crises and one-time appointments because we support the academic calendar and mission of the institution,” Covey said. “Ongoing counseling will start again when the summer classes begin, but we’re short-term solution oriented or skill-building oriented.”
The CAPS website offers a variety of workshops for anxiety, depression, grief, relationships and sleep, as well as resources pertaining to career exploration, conquering exams, healthy lifestyles, journal writing and self-compassion.
“Through final exams and the break between semesters, CAPS is available for urgent, crisis-related services — please give us a call and we’d be happy to assist,” their website reads. “We will resume our full range of services when summer classes begin on June 1. Check out our self-help resources and recorded workshops for assistance between semesters.”
Active Minds A&M officer and industrial distribution senior Asad Abbas said it is important for people to prioritize their mental health.
“As a male, a lot of the time, people act like guys don’t have feelings and they say, ‘Act like a guy’ — whatever that means,” Abbas said. “That happens too many times.”
From the minute students wake up to the minute they go to sleep, Abbas said they are in a constant battle with their mental health.
“Our organization was created not too long ago for the purpose of raising awareness and letting people know that we’re here for them,” Abbas said. “We post something every single month, like tips to help you or people you know deal with a certain thing. We try to also share our experience and just be there to help.”
If students are invested in their mental health, Covey said she encourages them to look at the CAPS website for more information.
“We have very practical things for people to try to help themselves feel better,” Covey said. “I think that’s what we’re really trying to educate the campus about is how many things people can do to help themselves.”
If you are in a mental health crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK and the CAPS helpline can be reached at 979-845-2700.

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