Megan Baumgarten // Psychology Major, COS ’23
Mental health should be considered just as important as staying active, taking care of your body, or taking care of your hygiene. Unfortunately, in today’s society, this isn’t as present in our culture as we would like to believe. While the pandemic has brought upon a new perspective to mental health (re: Why Your Mental Health Is Declining During Lockdown articles), the conversation has only just begun. As someone who strongly advocates for mental health and the resources available, I wanted to share a list of resources that Northeastern has to offer so that fellow mental health advocates (or anyone just looking for support) knows where to look. Asking for help is never the wrong choice.
The university’s health center, UHCS, which stands for University Health and Counseling Services, has a resource called Find@Northeastern available to students looking to get mental health support. Find@Northeastern allows for students to connect with a licensed therapist for five free sessions per semester! Find@Northeastern also has 24/7 on call support, video counseling and more.
If going to a licensed therapist through the university is not your cup of tea, Find@Northeastern can also make referrals that allows students to connect with therapists who are taking new clients within the Boston area.
WeCare is something that I have not ever personally seen or heard of until I stepped onto Northeastern’s campus. This is a resource for students or parents who are struggling with personal or academic issues that the university can potentially help in. We all have bad days, and sometimes personal struggles can affect our academic success or vice versa, but WeCare is trying to mitigate this issue. This support system connects students to resources, can email professors if you are struggling with academic or personal issues, and much more.
Personally, I have used WeCare a handful of times. My first year here at Northeastern I felt super under the weather during the week of my first midterms. I was stressed out, anxious, coupled with allergy season and the weather change, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be as successful as I could in the upcoming midterms. I emailed both WeCare and my professor for one of the exams I was worried about in order to explain the situation and understand what the options were. I couldn’t be more grateful for the knowledge that WeCare was there to support me and help me through what could have been a really awful week. (I was still pretty sick, but I was able to reschedule the exams to where I was feeling better and did marginally better than I expected I would due to this.)
LeanOnMe is what inspired me to write this article in the first place because of how incredible I think it is. This is a peer-to-peer hotline that has other trained Northeastern students be able to respond to texts. It is a non-emergency hotline, but is a space for honest, vulnerable conversations that are anonymous. It allows for students to feel welcomed, heard, and understood all while giving the support or connection to resources that a peer may be asking for.
While technically not a Northeastern resource, this hotline and peer group is incredible in being able to support the community around them. Mental health advocacy and support can look different to everyone. What you find to be supportive, like talking to a therapist, may not be supportive to a peer who just wants to talk to another peer. LeanOnMe is another avenue that allows for this community to know there is support wherever you look!
Unmasked is a new app that came to campus last semester that I personally have found to be very useful. Completely anonymously you can post how you are feeling on a message board, kind of like a twitter feed, and other peers on the app can comment in support. There are trigger warnings available, as well as mods who will be able to moderate and protect what is happening. Unmasked has been something that I think is very powerful, even if you are not looking for anyone to reply and talk to you about what you are experiencing, sometimes knowing that you are being heard is enough. That is exactly what Unmasked is for!
Mental health is an incredibly important topic that I don’t think should be swept under the rug anymore. College is hard, it can be a struggle more times than others and it is important to know what resources are available to be a support network for when one does notice they are struggling.