At Harvard, the social pressure to meet more people and make more connections is a double-edged sword. On one hand, relationships and ties can be made with peers. On the other, most of these relationships end up being superficial. On campus, almost every student seems to have an active social life while being engaged in both his or her academics and extracurriculars. Yet, even though we tend to party and socialize with friends, we often try to overcome our stressful moments alone. Hardly ever do friends discuss sensitive topics such as mental breakdowns or extreme anxiety over academic and/or personal issues.
While the topics of anxiety and stress are well understood via personal experience by many students, the experience often goes unaddressed. In fact, take a moment and think back to how many times you ask the question, “How are you doing?” on a daily basis. Now, think about how many times the response was “I’m really stressed out and busy, but so is everyone else, right?” More often than not, we qualify our stress and anxiety, believing that feeling depressed once in a while is just a way of life at Harvard.
However, for some students, these once in a while moments become a real mental health issue. Unfortunately, many do not realize it and continue to believe that this is how everyone feels, and thus, it must be okay.
In response to the increase in mental health awareness, the College has organized various counseling options ranging from peer-organized undergraduate counseling groups to professional counseling at the University health offices. However, it is also important to note while there are many on campus options to aid students in adjusting to the academic pressures at Harvard, the feeling of simply confiding in a close friend is comparable to none. The college has put forth a great effort to tackle mental health concerns and aid those who wish to take advantage of these services, it is now up to the students as individuals to pay attention to our peers, stop qualifying our stress and concerns, and feel comfortable with being open about mental health.
By Jennifer Bi '18 | Staff Writer