Winter break will be finishing up soon and college kids around the country will be going back to campus. They have enjoyed a respite with friends and family and at this point know how they are doing academically. Perhaps all their hard work has paid off and their grades are good, or perhaps they find that they are struggling. In either case, they can be experiencing a lot of anxiety.
Mickey Sharma, director of counseling and consultation service at Ohio State’s Office of Student Life, states that this is a growing concern. According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, “anxiety has replaced depression as the top mental health concern among students seeking counseling”. However, anxiety and depression remain major concerns in the college mental health realm today, said Dr. Ben Locke, executive director for the Center of Collegiate Mental Health at Pennsylvania State University.
These increases are a result of several factors. Social media has created a huge awareness of what is happening all around the world. We know in a heartbeat about a tragedy has occurred, even when it is far away and may have little to do with us.
Conversely, the ‘connectedness’ of social media has actually caused us to be less connected on a truly personal and meaningful way. These connections are vitally important to our ability to bounce back and deal with challenges. Without them people often feel that they are ‘on their own’ when things are not going well.
The article offers several other reasons for this increase, one of which is actually good news.
But there is some good news. Part of increase in reported cases of anxiety and depression are due to a decrease in the stigma of seeking help for these issues. Talking to someone about what they are feeling can be a first step to working through the problem, but sometimes ‘talking’ can be difficult. That’s where other interventions, such as Equine Assisted Therapies can be very helpful.
Horses are non-judgemental. They meet us where we are. They allow us to just be. They offer a low-key, non-confrontational opportunity to connect. They can help us find our inner leader, build confidence and self-esteem. They can help us see that there is often more than one way to accomplish a goal. All of these things can resonate with someone feeling overwhelmed or not up to the daily challenges they are facing.
We are here to help. If you or someone you know is struggling, give us a call or send us an email. We will schedule a time for you to visit the ranch and meet our incredible horses. We will learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.