CASSY’s new home won’t deter use

April 29, 2019 — by Marisa Kingsley

When CASSY moves into its new home at the center of campus soon, the therapists there hope to increase their ability to help more students dealing with mental health issues.

Yet with this goal also comes new potential challenge: Some say its more visible location will discourage students from going there, as opposed to its current more discreet location in a portable in the side parking lot.

Although the stigma is a very real issue, my guess is that the student body will greatly benefit from the move to the center of campus, despite the doubts that some have expressed.

Regardless of the effect of this move, the need for mental health services for teens has never been greater. According to The National Alliance of Mental Illness, 20 percent of adolescents are living with a mental health condition. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human , anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness among teenagers, affecting 32 percent. Not everyone fits into one category, as mental disorders often exist side by side with one another, like anxiety and depression, or depression and substance abuse disorder.

Unfortunately, for many students with mental illnesses, it is difficult to get the help they need at their school. School counselors are trained to help students with social and emotional issues that come in the way of their academic success but are not trained to provide long-term therapy.

Through services such as CASSY implemented at SHS, trained therapists are on site every school day to help students regardless of the student’s ability to pay for the service.

The stigma around mental health is incredibly prevalent, mostly due to people who have been misinformed about mental health conditions and often about the individuals diagnosed. People are told that simple things such as “being positive” or “growing up” can cure mental illness when often serious professional help is needed.

But that does not mean that there isn’t hope.  

With the move, CASSY will actually be another step closer to normalizing therapy for students by being in a central location. It will give them a larger platform to spread their message that it’s all right to get help or take a break when you’re feeling overwhelmed instead of white-knuckling it.

As more students become open to therapy, the stigma against it will continue to fade. This will encourage other students who are in need of counseling but are afraid to be judged by their peers to try using CASSY services.

Clearly, the environment on this campus is often rigorous and stressful, and many students think much more negatively about themselves as they compare themselves to their peers.

There is greater demand than ever for a place like CASSY where students’ voices are able to be heard. With mental health issues growing for teens here and everywhere, the relocation of CASSY to the student center is a good first step to normalizing getting mental health counseling.




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