Counseling Center Provides Weekly Discussions, Resources for Campus

It’s no secret that the college years can be a challenging time. Students take on academics, internships, activities, co-ops and jobs all while trying to adjust to living on their own, with strangers, away from family and friends. Sometimes, these factors can take a toll on mental health. 

Information for students on the Georgia Tech Counseling Center.

“This age, during college, is the prime age for emotional or mental health concerns to emerge,” said Ruperto Perez, director of the Georgia Tech Counseling Center. “We see students who may have had a predisposition for certain issues, maybe in their family, but they are coming in for the first time because they notice signs in themselves or someone notices it in them.”

The Counseling Center begins its semesterly Stress Management Series this Thursday, offering weekly casual discussions open to students, faculty and staff to talk about various stress factors and coping methods. This is one way the Center provides opportunities to help the Tech community manage stress.

In comparing Tech students who have visited the Counseling Center to those at universities around the country, Tech students report more academic distress than their peers.

“It points to the academic rigor here, but often the rigor is what brings them in and then reveals other underlying issues,” said Perez. Tech students also tend to internalize stress, trying to push through without help, which can lead to distress and more serious issues such as depression and anxiety, the top two consistently present concerns observed by Counseling Center staff. 

“We try to emphasize that now is a good time to start to develop a plan for how to manage and cope with stress. Whether it’s going to the CRC on a regular basis, or getting involved socially and developing a support system, it’s important to try to be proactive in making those plans to avert and cope with stress.”

If students notice something in a friend, or faculty and staff notice something in a student, Perez encourages them to first address it with the person: Express your concern and explain what you’re seeing, and ask if there is anything you can do to help. The Counseling Center is available for consultation for those who are concerned about someone and may want tips on how to deal with the situation. Students with issues that warrant involvement beyond their existing community should visit the Counseling Center or Office of the Dean of Students.

Some signs that might indicate that intervention may be warranted in a student’s life include: social withdrawal from friends and family, detachment or not wanting to talk for an extended period, and gradual or dramatic changes in sleeping and eating habits. Irritability and sudden angry outbursts for seemingly no apparent reason can also be signs of distress. Perez encourages faculty, staff and students to further familiarize themselves with possible signs through videos on the Center’s website. The Center is open for appointments and consultations Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a counselor on call 24/7 at 404-894-2575. The weekly Stress Management Series continues throughout the semester.