As anxiety and depression afflicts college students nationwide, Shepherd University is keeping a close eye on students and Wednesday offered free mental health evaluations and conferences.
“The benefit is that the screening tool can help provide some information about how a student’s symptoms might fit into one of those categories,” said Shepherd counselor Wendy Baracka, “If they are feeling concerned about their ability to handle their thoughts, feelings, school work and/or social responsibilities, this could give them a more clear picture of whether or not they might need some additional help.”
The screening was held in the Rams Den and Wellness Center and this was the 12th such event at Shepherd. After completing a questionnaire, students were interviewed by school counselors for their risks of anxiety or depression.
While the screening is not an official diagnosis, it acts as a tool to help counselors decide whether a student should be professionally diagnosed for a mental health problem. Should students have any inclination to see a counselor they can schedule an appointment by calling the Counseling Department.
The average age of onset for many mental health issues is the typical college age range of 18 to 24, according to The JED foundation, a charitable organization that works to reduce suicide and improve mental health among college students. According to the National Institute of Health, 75 percent of all with an anxiety disorder will experience symptoms before 22. In addition, 45 percent of women and 36 percent of men felt so depressed it was difficult to function.