Austin College Supports Mental Health for All

This past Saturday, October 10, marked the 28th celebration of World Mental Health Day. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) states that initially, the event was solely to generally promote advocacy and education for mental health matters, but since the establishment in 1992, themes have been dedicated to each year. For example, the 2019 theme was mental health promotion and suicide prevention. 
This year, the World Health Organization dedicated the day to focus on “increased investment in mental health” following the COVID pandemic. 
COVID-19 has, undoubtedly, turned the world upside down for many different demographics. From social isolation to adapting to a new form of learning to potentially losing loved ones due to illness, life has become full of change and uncertainty. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares that, from April to June 2020, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety have increased considerably among the American population. 

Photo via the CDC website. Based on statistics, it can be reasonably understood that mental health struggles are at a concerning height, right now.

The following information from the WHO and the WFMH help to paint a more clear picture as to why World Mental Health Day should be important to the Austin College campus: Every year, close to 800,000 people globally take their own lives and there are many more who attempt. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. With this being said, Over 43 million Americans alone suffer from some sort of mental health condition, which translates to every one in four college-aged adults having a diagnosable mental illness. It is one of the leading causes for dropping out. 
This data, taken from the 2019 World Mental Health Day campaign, has increased amidst the pandemic. 
Teresa Moore, the new Austin College Director of Counseling, offered some insight into some resources that the Austin College community can use during these hard times. If one is wishing to utilize on-campus resources, on September 23, 2020, Teresa sent out an email to all students sharing that “if you are interested in making an appointment” to “please contact Leighann Onwu” via phone number or Austin College email. She completed her email, by stating that “not all wounds are visible and sometimes we just need a little outside help to gain some perspective.”
More resources include the students’ respective Resident Assistant (RA) or Area Coordinator. Before the semester begins, RAs participate in an extensive training process which prepares them with many tools to help on-campus residents. Additionally, Dean of Students Michael Deen, and Traci Howard Moore, the new Director of Student Success and Transitions, are always available to aid students in becoming more successful. They can be reached via email. 
If students are wishing to seek off-campus help, websites like Psychology Today can help to guide students towards psychologists and psychiatrists in Grayson County. Teresa Moore also included a number of hotlines that students can reach out to in the email that she sent out on September 23, 2020.
Additional phone numbers and emails are below.

Taking care of your mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is perhaps more important in this season of uncertainty than it has ever been before. Treat yourself as a priority, and check-in with your loved ones.
As always, we are in this together ‘Roos. 
On-Campus Contacts: 
Michael Deen, Dean of Students:, 903.813.2306 
Leighann Onwu:, 903.813.2247 
Traci Howard Moore, Director of Student Success and Transitions:, 903.813.2818 
Off-Campus Contacts: 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Helpline – SAMHSA: 800.662.4357
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor

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