The week before finals week, students were reminded about the importance of seeking help when dealing with stress, anxiety and depression.
Sticky notes reminding students “it’s okay to not be okay” and that talking about how you’re feeling is healthy could be found across campus last week as part of the Empower TCU Wellness Campaign.
The second annual campaign was also responsible for the lawn signs across campus that reflected on how common anxiety and stress can be.
Thirty-three percent of TCU students reported feeling stressed, which is 5 percent above the national average; 16 percent of students felt too depressed to function, according to the campaign.
Empower TCU was specifically scheduled close to finals week in order to get people talking about something that touches a lot of students, said Lizzie Sparks, one of the campaign’s Wellness Directors.
She said the idea was formulated about two months ago with the hope that it’d make people want to talk about mental health issues, rather than shy away.
“We really wanted to channel those people who don’t want to be reached, because if you’re struggling with those things, it’s really hard to talk about,” Sparks said. “We wanted to make sure with this campaign we were effectively reaching those who usually don’t want to be reached.”
The campaign included a video that features three students’ personal stories of stress, anxiety and depression. Each student revealed they sought help by talking to others—one spoke with a friend, one went to Campus Life and one went to the Counseling & Mental Health Center.
Parker Levy, a senior marketing major, was one of the students in the video. He revealed at a stress relief event during the campaign how he “vividly remembers sitting in [his] shower and freezing up for 15 or 20 minutes, not being able to do anything.”
Levy said a friend suggested he go to Campus Life, but Levy said he hesitated because he felt he was strong enough and didn’t need a therapist.
But once he decided to go, he continued to go for months.
“I think my story can help people realize there are resources on campus that can help you that you don’t have to be afraid of,” Levy said. “They’ll help you not feel like you’re only focusing on yourself by going; they’ll help you find ways to help yourself by pouring into other people or pouring into things you’re passionate about.”
Sparks said it’s important for students to find help in the best way possible for themselves.
“Some people are comfortable talking to people they don’t know, and some people are comfortable talking to people they know,” Sparks said. “So just take a breath, evaluate your situation and think, ‘Would I benefit more from telling someone I know or telling a professional?’
“See what’s best for yourself, but don’t internalize things—it’s the worst thing you can do.”
She also said the campaign has already fulfilled its goal in inspiring students to seek help when dealing with anxiety, depression or stress.
“Someone told my co-director that because of the video we released talking about stress, she went to the Counseling Center to talk to somebody,” Sparks said. “So it’s great that we’ve been able to reach just one person, that’s a good enough goal on its own.”
SGA President Maddie Reddick said it’s good students were receptive to the campaign.
“I think it’s good students want to talk about this and do something about it,” Reddick said. “I think it was a really positive week to talk about something that’s not always talked about that touches the lives of students.”
She added that asking for help is a life saver sometimes and that it’s the brave thing to do.
The Post-it notes from the campaign will be hanging in the library during finals week so students will see the empowering messages when they walk in.
To find out more information about the on-campus resources highlighted in the campaign and video, visit http://counseling.tcu.edu and http://campuslife.tcu.edu, or call 817-257-SAFE during non-business hours.