College students are walking billboards for high stress in young adults due to the average plight of balancing a part-time job and studies simultaneously. Numerous dilemmas cause the average college student’s stress, such as sleepless nights, cramming for exams, homesickness, relationships, financial aid, maintaining a social life or trouble in the workplace. You name it, we’ve stressed about it.
Enter social media, a tool we use to passive-aggressively vent our frustrations with our day-to-day lives. UNCC Confessions is a particular page on Facebook and Twitter that has gained popularity among students. UNCC Confessions features daily posts submitted by anonymous students who reveal their deepest, darkest secrets to other followers of the page.
The question arises: why are students so comfortable with telling complete strangers their private thoughts? Followers of the UNCC Confessions page are allowed to comment on posts, so embarrassment must not be an immediate concern. It appears that students find comfort in hiding behind the anonymity of UNCC Confessions.
However, some students commenting on the UNCC Confessions posts have expressed that some of the more extreme confessions, particularly on the topics of suicide and other mental health concerns, are very off-putting or might warrant seeking professional help. So why don’t these students pursue professional help instead of relying on the UNCC Confessions page to give them temporary relief?
There is no doubt a social stigma against the topic of mental health in America. America is notorious for its fast-paced, workaholic culture. Amidst the frenzy of immediate gratification, we tend to bite off more than we can chew.
Like the Greek Titan Atlas, Americans hold the weight of our day-to-day stresses on our shoulders, almost as if we believe that we are immune to crumbling under its pressure.
Being depressed or “down in the dumps” is frowned upon, if not avoided and repressed. We even translate mental disorders and illnesses into humor.
We casually use the word “bipolar” to describe just about anything that changes within a moment’s notice. We make jokes and ignore what it actually means to be bipolar. We may get a couple of laughs out of it, but the truth is that the problem is much more complicated than we think. By doing this, we perpetuate the idea that only people who have “serious problems” see therapists and psychiatrists.
Society also tends to glamorize psychological disorders or illnesses. Ranging from attractive sociopaths and ego maniacs, to people with anxiety and OCD, we have all watched popular television shows and movies guilty of this fad. “Monk,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “American Psycho,” “Dexter” and “Wilfred” are just a few examples.
The media typically portrays people with psychological disorders or illnesses as socially awkward and bizarre or with a deceiving charm that their victims do not discover until it’s too late. Sometimes they may even appear haggard and shady – definitely someone you would not want to run into in a dark alley. In reality, these are exaggerated cases. Depending on the disorder or illness, some individuals can still function in society on their own. They look just like you and me, and go about their daily lives just like anyone else. So why are we so attracted to these extremities?
Extreme cases of mental disorders always make the front-page news and grab immediate attention. Unfortunately, the effect of these actions is that an individual with a mild mental disorder becomes afraid to speak out about their condition. Of equal concern, people who are not even aware that they have a mental disorder or illness are reluctant to seek professional help.
Mental health is a serious issue that no one is immune to, and it should not be taken lightly. From mild stress to even depression counseling, students should take advantage of the free services offered to them on campus. If students are hesitant to confide in people they know, making an appointment with the Counseling Center will guarantee a much more effective solution than the UNCC Confessions page.
Unless you are a danger to yourself or others, the professionals of the Counseling Center reserve the confidentiality of therapist-patient privilege.
The Counseling Center is located on the east side of the Atkins building, facing the Belk Tower. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.