Make counseling casual again:

Mending your mental health shouldn’t be scary


Aubrie Selsmeyer / Advance-Titan – According to Mayo Clinic, “44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety.” The Just Breathe room is located in the Student Success Center. Students can rent 30-minute sessions to decompress with music, lighting and aromatherapy.

Aubrie Selsmeyer, Opinion Editor

According to Forbes Magazine, “47% of Americans believe seeking therapy is a sign of weakness.” Yet, “despite this trend, 88% said they’ve experienced at least one of the symptoms that professionals use to assess depression.” 

When did seeking a way to mend your mental health become a sign of weakness? Nearly half of Americans expressed that therapy exposes fragility, yet these same Americans also admitted to experiencing symptoms of depression in their day-to-day lives. 

The subconscious narrative surrounding therapy involves stale rooms and nosy old men writing down your business on a notepad. 

But, just as we as a society have evolved, so have the methods of therapy. Nowadays, you don’t even need to attend sessions in person.

Here at UW Oshkosh, we have many outlets for students to be able to seek help at zero cost. 

Going to therapy isn’t a symbol of weakness – it’s an initiative towards a healthier mind. You spend a lot of time inside your own mind, so it’s important that this is a space you enjoy.

Now more than ever before the demand for mental health advocacy is crucial. Young people are struggling to combat these issues on their own, yet refuse to seek help. 

According to Mayo Clinic, “44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

Reese Druckenmiller, clinical social worker in Psychiatry & Psychology in Albert Lea, Minnesota, explained that students who are encouraged to give 100% maximum effort in every aspect of their life are only being set up to burn out their bodies and their minds.

“As a therapist, I have concern for adolescents who believe they should be a top athlete in three sports, get straight As and successfully work a part-time job,” Druckenmiller said. “Teaching children to give 100% at all times in all areas of life is unrealistic.”

With 44% of college students admitting to struggling with mental health issues, 75% of these students are reluctant to seek help. 

It’s time to break the stereotypes of therapy. There is an abundance of ways students are able to seek help without fear of judgment. 

Not only does UWO offer in-person counseling appointments, but also the same services through a screen. The screen adds a safety wall between both parties and can help calm any nerves that may stem from face-to-face interaction. 

UWO student Isaiah Gonzalez shared his personal experience with the Counseling Center and gave advice to students who may be struggling to overcome the fear of reaching out for help.

“I consider myself to be a very deep thinker and this can sometimes lead to anxiety,” Gonzalez said. Being able to get it off my chest and talk to someone that will listen has helped me a lot.”

Gonzalez was originally recommended to see a therapist by his mom, who assured him that counseling can aid people with problems no matter how big or small. 

“I have been utilizing the UWO Counseling Center since August of 2022 – so for about eight months now,” Gonzalez said. “I considered counseling for about a year before that, but I told myself that I didn’t need it and my issues weren’t big enough.” 

He advises students who may fear reaching out for help to prioritize their mental health and take the chance. Counseling is nothing to be afraid of, and it only gets easier. No one should have to walk around with the weight of the world on their shoulders. 

“I originally went to counseling to improve myself and my relationships, but I’ve found that counseling has also helped me organize my thoughts and put things into perspective,” Gonzalez said. “The thing I found the most difficult about counseling was starting. Once you start it gets easier and easier.” 

Along with in person and online counseling opportunities, the Counseling Center also offers rooms that students can utilize when they need a zen place to gather their thoughts. 

The Just Breathe room in the Counseling Center does not require talking to anyone and can be scheduled in 30-minute sessions. Students are able to control the lighting of the room, burn their favorite essential oils, and listen to music in the comfort of an oversized bean bag. What better way to take a step back from the stress of life?

The UWO Counseling Center is located in the Student Success Center, suite 240. To contact or fill out a counseling request/referral form visit the Counseling Center’s website.

Therapy is not a testament to one’s weakness; welcome to the 21st century. It’s completely normal for people to have big emotions and no space to store them. 

Without our emotions, therapists wouldn’t be in business. 

They are here to listen; you just have to be willing to talk. Take the chance and remember that it only gets easier.