Hello everybody! It is Tara again (from the gay Tulsa thing), but this time, I want to talk to you about mental health.
Transitioning to college can be hard. Maybe for you it will be a total breeze and you will not have any problems – and if that is the case, great!
However, if you find that you are having a hard time adjusting, or that maybe you feel anxious or unhappy, or just sort of different, it could be beneficial for you to reach out and get some help.
Most mental health issues begin between the ages of 18 and 24. At TU most of us are right in that age range – so it is fortunate that there are a number of fantastic resources in Tulsa, some right here on campus!
First and foremost, I encourage you to go to the Alexander Health Center. There are a handful of counselors there who want to help you, but you have to be willing to go to them.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, or even just a little off, it can’t hurt to go to the health center. Whether you have a diagnosable condition or are “just” coping with a lot of stress, they can help you – and it is free!
They are open Monday through Friday from 8am to 12 pm and 1pm to 5pm. You can call them at (918) 631-2200 – but if you are in crisis, and they are open, you can walk in. Just let them know it is a crisis.
If you find that you are in crisis, you can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255.
If you want local support you can call the COPES hotline, which is a service of Family and Children’s Services, at (918) 744-4800.
If they sense that there is an immediate threat, they may opt to intervene in person. Other important phone numbers include the Trans Lifeline (877) 565-8860 and the Trevor Project (866) 488-7386 for LGBT folks.
There are a number of support groups through the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Tulsa, a full list can be found at www.namitulsa.org/groups.
NAMI also has a couple of educational opportunities either for folks experiencing mental health issues or their caretakers or friends and family members. These are located under the “education” tab on their website.
Another important local mental health group is the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma. If you are looking for a referral, call (918) 585-1213, and they will help you out.
They facilitate free mental health screenings and they also host a number of support groups. Their website is www.mhaok.org, and a full list of resources can be found under the “get help” tab.
There are so many great resources for mental health in Tulsa. If you are having any problems, please do not hesitate to utilize them.
If you are unsure whether seeing a counselor is for you, remember that it cannot hurt to try (did I mention that the health center is FREE. Like no money, you guys).
It takes a lot of strength to seek professional help – try to remember that there are other people on campus who have experienced what you are going through, and that it gets better.
The first step is getting help (and seriously the health center costs you $0.00. So go there!).
Full disclosure: Tara Grigson is president of HeadStrong, which is a mental health advocacy group. Headstrong meets on Tuesdays at 8pm in the Blue House (behind Chapman hall).