I sought professional counseling while I was a student at WWU more than once. Especially in my senior year, when stress was mounting, I took advantage of the university's limited number of free counseling sessions. This was a good resource, especially if I'd worn my friend's ears thin over a particular subject. Lord knows I can talk until I'm hoarse when I'm emotionally invested.

Still, I was a little surprised (or should I be?) when I caught a P-I story over the weekend reporting universities are seeing increases in campus mental illness, at times creating a backlog of cases and weeks-long waits to see a therapist.

  • UW students seeking new medical evaluations for mental health problems such as depression and anxiety has nearly tripled in the past five years.
  • At SPU, one-fifth of its undergraduate student body sought therapy last year.

According to the article, "Experts suggest that students today face greater pressures, taking on college loan debt to pay for rising tuition. Therapy is more socially acceptable, prompting more students to seek help."

I can believe that. No doubt students at all levels of education are facing greater challenges socially and academically -- which takes an emotional toll.

I encourage anyone (students in particular) who are finding life a little too difficult to handle to look into counseling resources, which are often free for students at universities. Venting what might be a minor personal issue early could save you the added stress of what could become overwhelming and unmanagable later. For more information, check out what WWU's Counseling Center for an idea of what these facilities can offer.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by WIB.