Lawrence University Counseling Services recognized National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 4 as a part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Every October, National Depression Screening Day gives students nationwide an opportunity to better understand themselves and their experiences.
The screening at Warch offered standard questionnaires to test for common mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. After being screened, students discussed the results confidentially with members of Lawrence’s counseling staff.
Depression and other mental illnesses are especially important for students facing the stresses of life away from home, rigorous study and social life on a campus setting.
According to Kathleen Fuchs, director of Counseling Services, about one in four people will deal with depressive episodes. Said Fuchs, “Common and recognizable symptoms of depression include a lack of energy, motivation and concentration in areas in which a student has previously succeeded or excelled.”
Counseling Services at Lawrence address these issues and also offer support for relationship issues, academic concerns, substance abuse and anxiety and stress. Counselors are also certified to refer students off campus to specialists such as psychiatrists.
In addition to utilizing counseling services at Lawrence, Fuchs also advises students to engage in physical activity. Especially during winter term, students are encouraged to make the most out of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamps found in residence halls and the CTL.
More importantly, students need to stay connected to one another as much as possible. Fuchs continued, “Make sure to find a niche, whether it be through the residence halls, Freshman Studies class, extracurricular activity or simply a random group of friends.”
Last Tuesday evening, Counseling Services also held a Mental Health Panel at the cinema where members of the Lawrence community spoke about their experiences with mental health issues. Last Wednesday in the library, students participated in the Masque Project, where anyone could create and decorate a mask that incorporated their personality. These masks will be on display at the Campus Center during the month of October and in conjunction with the May, 2012 theatre production “Show Your Face(s): A Masque.”
Students will be participating in the National Alliance for Mental Health Illness walk on Saturday. Lawrence University has been hosting a team of students to walk for the Fox Valley chapter of NAMI for several years. There will be a shuttle bus that departs at 8:30 a.m. from the turnaround and will return by noon. Those interested in participating should contact Erin Buenzli for more information.
Throughout the year, the LU counseling staff conducts a series of events including hosting speakers and luncheons. For more information about events and programs, you can visit www.lawrence.edu/lifeline.