TKC Counseling Center Offers Screening Tool & Wellness Tips
The King’s College Counseling Center recently collaborated with CollegeResponse to offer a quick and comprehensive screening tool for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. The anonymous and free screening assessment takes only a few minutes and can help students find their best options in pursuing personal wellness. The Empire State Tribune sat down with Eileen Hawkins, one of TKC’s full-time licensed mental health counselors and a King’s alumna herself, to discuss personal wellness. Hawkins discussed how wellness isn’t solely limited to the body— it also includes the mind. Here are five things she told the Empire State Tribune that students should know about their mental health and personal wellness:
- Self-care is important: “The most basic, and probably most overlooked [aspect of mental health], is self-care. Self-care includes making sure you get enough sleep, you are eating properly, exercising and giving your mind breaks from school,” Hawkins explained. She also encouraged monitoring potentially harmful behaviors that many young adults use to nip stress in the bud. Drinking, she said, provides temporary relief, but can be detrimental in the long run. If your body is not operating at its optimum level, behaviors like drinking can add to emotions, anxieties and other vulnerabilities.
- You don’t need to “qualify:” According to Hawkins, one of the biggest misconceptions about mental health is that one must experience a life-changing event or tragedy in order to qualify for counseling—and that isn’t true. “A lot of times students come in and say to me, ‘I don’t know if this warrants counseling.’ Anything can warrant counseling. If it is bothering you and affecting you—then it is worth looking into it,” Hawkins told us. Like going to a doctor for your physical wellness, going to a counselor can assist your mental wellness.
- There are resources available: Sometimes anxieties seem to come out of nowhere and it can be frightening. You may not be sure whether to seek counseling, you may be apprehensive to meet with a counselor, or you may be uncertain as to how to ask for help. This is normal. “There are a lot of resources on campus; the King’s system is built in a way for students to be able to talk to someone in your house, talk to a house director or professor,” Hawkins suggested. The CollegeResponse screening tool is another option for taking the difficult first step. Hawkins cautioned that the screening tool is not a definitive tell-all, but it provides a starting point to lead to more information.
- Mental health works on a sliding scale: What you deal with in terms of stress or anxiety may be different than what your friend or classmate experiences. Understanding how you function and work is essential. If you are interested in finding tools to manage stress or are interested in talking with someone about your anxieties, then seeking counseling can help. Hawkins expresses that just because you are pursuing counseling and are concerned about your mental health does not necessarily mean you have a mental disorder. Sometimes speaking with an objective third party can be the stress relief you need to survive the more hectic weeks of school.
- You do not have to face anything alone: College can be a rewarding but stressful time. Between school, work, and relationships, it can be difficult to strike the right balance between activities without spreading yourself too thin. Knowing your limits is essential to your wellbeing. While life can be overwhelming, however, you do not have to do it alone. “There is no shame in having struggles or having concerns. Part of wisdom is knowing how to use resources—not necessarily learning how to not need them, but how to use them,” Hawkins wisely advised. College presents many changes but King’s offers many ways for students to stay connected, rather than face their struggles alone during this transition process.
The King’s College Counseling Center, one of many great resources on campus, is open for appointments Monday through Friday. If you are interested in meeting with Eileen Hawkins or another one of the counselors, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The CollegeResponse screening tool is another resource that students can take online at any time.