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Editorial | Our “society” did not lie to the Benedictine College graduates — Harrison Butker did
Editorial | Our “society” did not lie to the Benedictine College graduates — Harrison Butker did
By The Pitt News Editorial Board 12:51 am

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Editorial | Our “society” did not lie to the Benedictine College graduates — Harrison Butker did
Editorial | Our “society” did not lie to the Benedictine College graduates — Harrison Butker did
By The Pitt News Editorial Board 12:51 am

University Counseling Center, programs provide mental health support and resources for incoming students

University+Counseling+Center%2C+programs+provide+mental+health+support+and+resources+for+incoming+students
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For first-year students, the transition to college can sometimes be difficult on their mental health. Although seeking out resources and support may seem overwhelming, Anushka Konka said finding the confidence to advocate and discuss mental health stems from friends who make you feel safe and secure. 

Sometimes it’s much easier to talk about these things with your close friends than with strangers,” Konka, president of Active Minds, said. “Finding a group of people who are willing to have these tough conversations with an open mind and heart is key in building confidence when it comes to advocating and talking about mental health.” 

Active Minds, a peer-based mental health organization on Pitt’s campus, offers resources, presentations and programs surrounding mental health advocacy and well-being. The organization’s Peer Education program presents interactive discussions about topics such as self-care and coping skills to campus clubs and organizations. 

Konka said the organization’s peer-based programs elevate student voices and encourage positive discussions about mental health. 

“It can sometimes feel like older adults dismiss or belittle the stress and mental health issues that college students express,” Konka said. “Therefore, having mental health conversations with fellow students who have a better understanding of what their peers are facing can help students to feel empowered in regard to advocating for themselves.” 

The University Counseling Center, located in the Nordenberg Hall Wellness Center, provides students with numerous free and confidential services. Ahmed Ghuman, Executive Director of the UCC, said the center offers services such as individual and group therapy, wellness workshops and crisis support. Self-help tools, online peer support channels and psychological assessments are also accessible to students. 

“The transition to college life can be a difficult one to navigate,” Ghuman said. “These resources provide new and incoming students with the support they need to thrive when they arrive and throughout their time at Pitt.” 

Utilizing the Counseling Center’s mental health support can look different for every student, according to Ghuman. Whether through a phone call or an in-person visit during drop-in hours, students can schedule 30-minute appointments with University therapists to develop personalized care plans and connect with helpful resources. 

“We are here for you whether you need to speak to a therapist or need ongoing care and support,” Ghuman said. “We have a diverse staff ready to help students of all identities.”

The Stress Free Zone, another mental health resource on campus, offers a space for students to practice mind and body stress reduction skills through yoga, mindful meditation and relaxation stations. 

Hallie Stotsky, coordinator of the Stress Free Zone, shared that the SFZ offers individualized advice and guidance to students based on what that specific student might be going through and needs help managing. 

“Each student’s needs are different and we try our best to personalize our services to each student,” Stotsky said. 

The SFZ offers outreach programs and mindful meditations for larger groups through the school year as well as opportunities for students to stop in whenever they need to use its resources. Stotsky said taking just fifteen minutes to visit the SFZ provides students “so much time with clarity of the mind.” 

“So many students who seem to be thriving make us part of their weekly schedule,” Stotsky said. “Also, utilize the classes and programs through Campus Recreation. ‘If you’re down, move around!’ is a great reminder to keep your body active in whatever form you enjoy.” 

As students adapt to life on a college campus this fall, Konka advises reaching out sooner than later when struggling with mental health. With the amount of mental health resources offered on campus, she said taking this first step can be “life changing” in one’s mental health journey. 

“Although it can appear intimidating at first, taking that first step is crucial in terms of gaining access to important resources and receiving support,” Konka said. “At times, it can feel like no one will understand what you’re going through and you don’t have anyone in your corner. But the truth is, you aren’t alone.”

About the Contributor
Madison Dean, Senior Staff Writer