When Allison Quisenberry started college at the University of North Texas, she knew she needed help.
I've suffered really bad with anxiety. My first semester here at UNT I struggled immensely," Quisenberry said. "It started to get overwhelming and it honestly started to feel very scary, and it was like, I don't know what's happening to me. I don't feel like my normal self, and I need to do something about it."
Quisenberry sought counseling at UNT and found the UNT chapter of the national non-profit, Active Minds, which uses student voices to raise awareness of mental health issues, help students find resources, and in talking about it, helps decrease the stigma surrounding mental health.
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"It's so important because so many students are struggling alone," UNT Senior Director of Counseling Dr. Tamara Knapp-Grosz said. "My biggest fear would be the missed student, the student that somehow did not hear about our services, or was too afraid to come for help."
Knapp-Grosz said suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students. She pointed out that counseling is included in the tuition fees for college, and that mental health issues are treatable. "But you've got to go get that help to make the healing begin," she said.
This year, Active Minds began hosting UNT counselors for talks to humanize the counselors, and make them less intimidating to call for help.
Knapp-Grosz said a quarter of all UNT student counseling sessions this year are for COVID-19 related issues.
"Even in this time of COVID, your feelings are still valid and what you're experiencing is 100% important," Quisenberry said. "And we're here to listen. We're here to listen to you."
Quisenberry will graduate in May with a dual major in Political Science and Nonprofit Leadership.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.