College Health: The Value of Getting Help Through Counseling

By Rachael Smith, Student at Radford University

It is a commonly known fact that our college years are some of the most stressful years of our lives. Between classes, majors, extracurricular activities, friends, family, parties and romantic relationships, sometimes it feels like our heads are barely screwed on.

The “stranger on the bus” phenomenon states that a lot of people are comfortable to tell their life story to a stranger because they know nothing about you. So wouldn’t it be nice to sit down and talk to someone about anything and everything without being judged, having them tell all your friends or paying for it?

Ah, but there is! Most colleges offer student counseling services that come with the payment of your tuition. Most students either don’t realize this is available to them, or like a lot of my friends, have too much pride or fear to go make an appointment. I was once that way also before my roommate gave me no choice but to go when I was talking to my toxic ex-boyfriend again. I went and filled out the paperwork and from then on, I saw the same women once every week and it helped me work through what I think now as a silly problem.

I wanted to know more so I asked Radford University’s Director of Student Counseling Services Erin Sullivan a few questions:

Why do you think it is important for college students to get counseling?
College can be a wonderful experience but also stressful. SCS is here to help students increase their coping skills so they can have a more successful college experience. If a student is experiencing difficulty in handling a situation or not functioning as well as he/she would like, the student could benefit from counseling.

For what reasons do the majority of students come in for?
The majority of students come in for situational problems resulting in symptoms of anxiety or depression. This can be a result of academic concerns, family or relationship problems or a result of a significant loss or tragedy. SCS treats anxiety, depression, eating disorders, adjustment problems to school, roommate issues, family concerns, grief or loss issues, stress management, self esteem issues, abuse issues, traumatic events, substance abuse, ADHD and other mental concerns.

What would you say to student who is too scared to come get counseling because they don't like to talk about their problems?

… It is normal for anyone to feel apprehensive about the initial counseling appointment and we understand this.  Our counselors and office staff are very supportive and caring. Most of our clients report feeling glad that they made the decision to come to counseling after the first or second session.


I advise all college students to go in once, tell the receptionist if you would rather speak with a female and try it! If you feel uncomfortable then at least you can say you gave it a shot, but with my experience, I found a new friend to confide into and she gave me the best advice because even though she hasn’t known me my whole life like my friends have, she had spent years studying psychology and knew what she was doing.

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