By: Dora Medrano, PAC PULSE Staff Reporter
The CDC states that 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. Many students are currently struggling with mental health but do not know where to turn. This may result in a decline in student grades and added stress during the school year. With a great calling to meet the demand for student mental health needs, Alamo Colleges offers free counseling sessions to students.
According to Pamela Frias, who works in Student Advocacy for the Alamo Colleges, 3 to 5 counseling sessions are available per semester to all currently enrolled students. Students who are one semester out of college can also receive this service. Depending on the student’s issue, ongoing sessions can be requested.
“I think it’s a really good thing to have especially because services like that are more ‘acceptable’ now so people are more inclined to use them,” states former Palo Alto College student, Myra Villarreal. “In today’s generation people have anxieties they cope with in their own ways. It may be a temporary aid but nowhere near as helpful as it would be to actually reach out and have that conversation with someone.”
The topic of mental health has become more mainstream in the past few years. Many believe this is because there is less of a stigma attached to it. Before, the topic had been almost considered taboo and was something people kept to themselves or worked on privately; now it has become an open conversation.
From 2020 to 2021, ‘Healthy Minds Study’ collected data from 373 campuses nationwide and noted that more than 60% of students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these services while they have them available.
To schedule a counseling session, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and complete a request for counseling form or call 210-486-3750.