The phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is pictured here: 1-800-273-8255. Please call this number if you or someone you know is struggling. (photo/CDC)

Mental health issues has increased in awareness over the past year due to social distancing and continued isolation from friends and family. Emotional, psychological, and social well-being are all included in the definition of mental health. It is very important to talk about mental illnesses for many reasons and actually the most common health conditions in the United States and more than 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. 

Taking care of your mental health is very important because your mental status can affect your feelings, mood, behavior, thinking, and ability to function day to day. Additionally, mental health is important for your overall health along with physical health. Mental illnesses can increase your risk of some physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

College can be very stressful. There is no doubt about that. It can be difficult to be away from your family for the first time in a new place. Classes can be difficult, and sometimes it can feel like there is too much on your plate. Many college students go through a time where it’s hard to keep up and relationships or grades can suffer because of it. 

There are many different tools students can use to help cope with stress and mental illness. It can be very helpful to stop and take time each day to destress to learn how to cope with mental illness. Even if you do not have a mental illness, doing destressing activities can help to keep you mentally healthy. Here are some examples of things you can do: 

  1. Keep a journal to write thoughts and feelings in. You can also write things you are grateful for each day. 
  2. Get a full night’s sleep. Pulling all nighters is not good for your mental or physical health. 
  3. Spend time with a loved one, either in person if a roommate or via an online resource like Zoom to talk. 
  4. Go for walks or runs. Especially as the weather gets warmer going outside can help make you calmer. Exercise is also good for mental health as well.
  5. Meditation. Relaxation activities can improve mental health. Yoga is one form of meditation that students can do, and has classes on campus.  
  6. Other activities students can do to relax can include, drinking tea, taking a bath, doing a face mask, or sitting in the sun. 
  7. Get help. Ohio Northern has resources on campus for students that are experiencing poor mental health including the Counseling Center, which is free for students to utilize. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing an urgent mental health crisis, call the National Sucicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Remember, you are not alone. 

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