Like any other practice that requires emotional vulnerability, therapy has gained a stigma that attempts to discredit the practice and its value. Many people think therapy is a waste of time or that it’s strictly for people who are “crazy.” Some say therapy is for the weak or that it’s reserved for times of severe struggle. Therapy is none of those things.
Quite frankly, therapy is just talking. Sometimes, it’s not even that. Therapy is working with a licensed professional to work through struggles, uncover strengths and find a way to live a healthier life. None of those things are even remotely things that one should be ashamed of.
For college students, the stigma of therapy is even more prevalent. While many in our generation don’t believe the misconceptions previously mentioned, we create a stigma around it because we don’t exactly like talking about our mental health.
We don’t think anything’s wrong with therapy, but we also don’t want our friends to think we’re not perfect. One possible reason for this is that people my age have a love for being seen as infallible, with picture-perfect lives. Many of us are obsessed with peoples’ opinions of us.
However, therapy is more necessary than ever for college students. One in five students will face a mental health condition. The majority of illnesses begin before the age of 24, an age range that includes most college students.
College is difficult. It’s often our first time away from home and our first time dealing with issues of this caliber. On top of that, our friends are enjoying their lives and having the perfect college experience. It’s so much easier to ignore the things that eat at us and to swallow them, pretending they don’t exist.
However, one thing I’ve learned in my short lifetime is that problems have to be dealt with. Most of the time, it’s better to face them head-on. This is especially true in the case of any mental health issues. Mental health issues don’t just go away. They might be dormant, but they have to be dealt with eventually.
Therapy has so many benefits. It can help you resolve current issues, get you on track to helping resolve them, teach you coping mechanisms, help you understand trauma and more. Therapy is genuinely healthy for us.
Moreover, you deserve support with whatever you may be going through. It might not even be support—therapy can just be an outlet for things you’re not comfortable talking about with those close to. Therapists don’t know us personally, making them the perfect non-biased person to help us with our problems.
Therapy isn’t just for crazy people, whatever that means. It’s also not a form of brainwashing or people shoving their beliefs down your throat. With the right therapist, therapy is one of the greatest choices a person can make for their mental health. Whatever stigma surrounds it does nothing to change that. Don’t let the stigma of therapy deter you from a happier life.
Maya Stevenson is a 20-year-old English and economics sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.