Employing ambassadors makes it easy for the Counseling and Psychological Services office to connect with the student body.

The office offers workshops on depression, anxiety and stress, which are some of the most common types of mental illnesses that can be found in students, psychology senior Blaine Marshall said.

Marshall has been an ambassador for the office for four semesters.

Students struggling with mental illnesses can contact the office to schedule individual, group and couple counseling. Other resources available to students include a 24-hour crisis line and the Behavioral Intervention Team.

Marshall said he struggled with mental health and knew a lot of friends that struggled, too.

“It’s something I’ve been passionate about and I really want to make an impact on the community and other people,” he said.

As an ambassador, Marshall said he helps manage tabling events while spreading awareness of the programs and services that the office offers. Ambassadors also make presentations to student organizations such as fraternities and sororities.

It’s about getting people to have an open dialogue about mental health, he said.

“It’s pretty important having, like, a sound mind,” he said.

Karla Arenas-Itotia, social work assistant professor in practice, said people need mental health to function in everyday activities.

Mental illness is a health condition that can impact a person’s emotions, behaviors or their ability to think, she said.

“Usually, it can be associated with some sort of distress or it can impact your day-to-day functioning,” she said.

Sometimes the illness is severe and can impair different aspects of a person’s life, but it can also be mild.

Students typically experience heavy stress, anxiety, depression and relationship problems, Arenas-Itotia said.

“It’s more common than I think people think,” she said. “It definitely doesn’t discriminate.”

A mental illness is anything that prohibits you from functioning normally, Marshall said.

“If you aren’t able to focus, if you have, like, breakdowns all the time, if you’re sad all the time,” he said.

A mental illness could be caused by a number of things, especially when taking society, biology and psychology into account, Marshall said.

Marshall said the reason it seems many college students have mental illnesses today is because of the current culture.

People were taught for a long time not to share their feelings, but as society progresses, they’ve learned that it’s not healthy, he said.

“People are becoming more aware of their feelings,” he said.

Arenas-Itotia recommended the office as a great resource for students who may be impacted by a mental illness.

“There has been a stigma in regards to speaking about mental health,” she said. “What I would like to encourage people is to realize that it does happen to more people than you know.”

@colby_farr

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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