Across campus, students clad in lime-green T-shirts gave out ribbons, stickers and brochures, and in the Central King Building, an important discussion open to the NJIT community was held. Both activities marked NJIT’s observance of World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10. They also represented the first public endeavor of Minds Matter, a new student organization at the university dedicated to raising awareness of and stopping the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.
Minds Matter was joined in planning and carrying out the day’s events by the NJIT chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and the Knit and Crochet Club, with support from the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (C-CAPS) and Albert Dorman Honors College.
Two-thirds of college students who are struggling do not seek treatment, according to the American College Health Association Spring 2015 assessment. Yet in a recent survey of college counseling center directors, the same percentage of clients “indicated that counseling had helped them remain in school” and “helped improve their academic performance.”
“There’s a huge stigma around mental health, so of course one of our goals is to destigmatize it, because it’s not really talked about a lot on campus,” said Charu Arya, Minds Matter president, noting that the club looks to host workshops and therapeutic events throughout the academic year. “A lot of people I personally know haven’t heard of C-CAPS. They didn’t know where it was, so we thought it was important to bring C-CAPS into the limelight so people know where to go for help.”
“I think that students reaching out to other students is the best possible way to … get the message across,” added former NSCS President Paul Bosin. “When a peer reaches out to another peer, maybe you can listen a little bit better, because it’s like ‘hey, I’ve been there.’”
How C-CAPS Can Help
C-CAPS, located in Campbell Hall Room 205, is staffed by psychologists and professional counselors experienced in helping students manage the adjustment to campus life and the social and academic stresses that may arise during the college years. Services include psychological counseling, academic support and career counseling, cross-cultural/multicultural counseling and addiction counseling and referral. Additionally, students benefit from a confidential place to explore and examine issues regarding sexual orientation, and workshops on test anxiety, stress management, assertive communication and other topics.
Phyllis Bolling, director of C-CAPS, is a licensed psychologist and serves as adviser to Minds Matter.