Prefrosh Preview: Mental health and psychiatric services at Georgetown

The mental health of Georgetown’s student body is an important topic, as it should be at any rigorous college or university. The heavy burden posed by most students’ coursework can often take a toll on mental health, and, regardless of academic stress, many people have existing mental health issues that they must deal with. Fortunately, Georgetown has the mental health services and resources necessary for most of the students who require them.

Georgetown’s center for Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) is the hub of mental health treatment on campus. Located on the back side of Darnall, CAPS saw over 1,600 students during the 2012 academic year.

CAPS is equipped to handle just about any mental health issue and will provide a student’s first three sessions for free before requiring a $10 co-payment with each visit for students on University healthcare.

The Voice published a feature on CAPS last November and it illustrates many of the struggles faced by some students with regards to mental health.

The most important thing to consider when talking about mental health at Georgetown is the necessity of dispelling the stigma associated with mental health issues and those who need help with them. Some view mental health issues as a sign of weakness, especially in Georgetown’s culture of achievement.

The numbers don’t lie, however: mental health issues and seeking psychiatric help are incredibly common. Roughly 10 percent of students go to CAPS each year and 25 percent will go to CAPS at least once over their four years.

Additionally, CAPS compiles data on Georgetown students each year using the National College Health Assessment survey (NCHA). One of CAPS’ doctors, Afshin Nili, Psy. D., presented Georgetown’s 2012 results on the NCHA to Vox‘s neurobiology class this past spring. Out of 2,000 Georgetown respondents, over 50 percent said that they “felt things were hopeless” and over 90 percent said that they “felt overwhelmed by all [they] had to do” at least once in the prior 12 months. Additionally, over 20 percent of respondents said that they were treated for or were diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.

The stress gets to everyone. There’s no good reason that someone who needs help should avoid it.

Photo: Marsmettnn Tallahassee via Flickr

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