Opinion: Having a special quiet space would help Liberty students’ mental health
Over the years, there has been an unprecedented increase in mental health disorders on college campuses.
According to Psychology Today, in the 1980s, at any given point, one in 10 college students needed, wanted or used some form of mental health treatment. Today, according to that same source, that number is one in three.
Acad Psychiatry conducted a survey of 274 college institutions. In this survey, 88 percent of counseling center directors reported an increase in “severe” psychological problems over the past five years. These problems included learning disabilities, eating disorders, substance abuse and self-injury incidents.
All college students feel the pressure and stress that comes from coursework, but this rise of mental health issues is becoming a significant problem. The leading mental health issue plaguing college students is, not surprisingly, anxiety, followed closely by depression.
Students across the nation are amassing real, serious mental health concerns, and it is pertinent that colleges, including Liberty University, continue to strive to help their students.
Experts call colleges the perfect storm for mental health issues. They are full of young people who are stepping out into a new world, often far away from their homes, where they are immediately bombarded with a wide variety of responsibilities. They try to make impactful life decisions, navigate relationships and pursue a career, all while trying not to buckle under the weight of their strenuous coursework.
There is no doubt that something needs to be done to help these students. Colleges across the nation, including Liberty University, offer college students counseling services where students can schedule appointments to talk to professionals about their needs and concerns.
Liberty students can even find resources on the counseling service website such as mindful meditation techniques, relaxation exercises, physical health tips and counseling resources.
This is a great start to giving students immediate techniques that can help them when they are feeling overwhelmed, but there is even more that Liberty could be doing for its students.
Not only is it important for students to relax, it is important that they feel they have a place where they can go to relax. For some students, this place can be their dorm rooms, but many students, due to difficult roommates, loud neighbors, etc., do not see their dorm as a relaxing space.
There should be a place where students can go specifically to help relieve their stress and anxiety whenever they need to. This is why Liberty should put funding toward building a relaxation space on campus.
Different colleges around the country have been proactive in building these spaces, showing that they take the mental health of their students seriously.
For example, California State University Northridge has built something called the Oasis Wellness Center, where students can go to learn about wellness and stress management. The center even offers six nap pods and an ADA-accessible flat bed in order to address the crisis of sleep deprivation
A relaxation space on Liberty’s campus could also be a great place for students to get a little shut-eye. According to a study by Brown University, 73 percent of students surveyed were found to have sleep problems. Sleep deprivation can impair students’ abilities to function normally throughout the day. It can even lower their GPA, because it can hinder the ability to concentrate, learn and retain information.
CSU Chico also offers an area called the “Zen Den,” which provides students with a calm atmosphere so they can relax and refocus. The space even includes four massage chairs. One of the most beneficial areas of the “Zen Den” is a space that also has three hammocks behind curtained-off areas in order to provide some students with privacy.
Private spaces would give students the opportunity to deal with stress or difficult emotions without feeling like they are being watched or judged by the people around them.
Liberty is already taking great steps toward helping student’s mental health. A relaxation space on campus would just be something more the university could do to show that it really cares about its students. It is incredibly important for students to take care of their mental health, so the university should take any step it can to ensure that students have the means to relax and refocus during stressful times.