More students should be aware of just how useful student counseling services are when facing mental health issues.

Every student at one point or another has had something in their life that began to negatively affect their ability to focus and do well in school. Whether it is some part of the transition to APSU, relationship problems or even personal issues, everyone has had a moment where the stress of it all is overwhelming.

Student Counseling Services, now located in the Ard Building across from Browning on the opposite side of College Street, is typically available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. throughout the week. Every student is eligible for 12 counseling sessions per year.

“It is the stress of school,” counselor Frank Bunner. said. “It is figuring out life on your own, a new social setting, the pressure of making this big decision in your life and what you are about to do. It is new relationships. Sometimes it is things you left at home that maybe you do not have peace about. It can be a variety of stuff.”

Stress of any kind and personal issues are left bottled up by so many students. They often feel alone and like they cannot tell anyone, like no one would understand or even listen. Student counseling services is open to all students and is completely confidential.

“It is for students who clinically are in those places where it is making it hard for them to function academically,” Bunner said. “There’s something in the way they are struggling to meet their goals. Sometimes it is as easy as finding a simple solution and other times it has to deal with something on a different level than they have been used to dealing with it in order to find their footing again.”

The Counseling Center offers individual counseling. They also offer “tool kits,” which are resources such as conversations that might help students deal with problem areas. Student counseling services plans to start groups this semester. Group therapy can be helpful for students to be able to learn from each other and to know that they are not alone.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays counseling services offers free yoga where students can come and learn to de-plug from stressors. Tai Chi is offered on Fridays. Students can come and learn to be more present with themselves and learn holistic practices. Group exercise also gives students the chance to connect with people.

Stress and mental illness affect thousands of college students. In 2014, it was said that around 30 percent of students who go to college counseling services have considered suicide at some point in their life, according to the American Psychology Association. Year after year, the number of students struggling with stress and mental health issues rises.

Learning about and treating mental health issues is important. No one is at their best when struggling with these issues. Everyone should be able to feel strong and confident and everyone should have access to a place where they can receive help. At APSU they do.

Student counseling services offers an ear to those who need to be heard and help to those who seek it out. The most common issues they treat are relationship problems, anxiety, depression, stress, family issues, guilt, adjustment issues, relationship issues, sexuality issues, grief, loss and self-esteem issues. The counselors genuinely care about the students and want to help them to the best of their ability. Students are encouraged to seek them out if they need them. No one is entirely alone.