How do you admit you need help?

The pandemic launched a mental health crisis and we are still reeling.

Mental health is a nuanced and stigmatized topic that is difficult for many to speak on when relating to their personal experiences. But why is this? If you break an arm or a leg, you seek medical attention and actively choose to better yourself after recognizing the injury. So why is mental health treated any differently? Breaking the stigma is something everyone can and should actively participate in.

Increases in poor mental health are an effect of our society transitioning to distanced learning, social distancing, and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic going forward. The World Health Organization (WHO) released an article on Mar. 2, 2022 detailing how the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an increase in depression and anxiety. A 25% spike in cases of young people, particularly women, has led to perilous situations for personal mental health.

I have witnessed this shift on a personal level and in my work. After being a frontline healthcare professional for the last three years as a Certified Nursing Assistant, I have seen how isolation has affected myself and my sister as individuals and frontline coworkers.

As a brother, I watched my sister become distanced, both physically and emotionally. She shifted how she walked and talked and slowly became quieter. After a couple months of her behavior shifting like this, we sat down and had a discussion, talked through her emotions, how she had been feeling lately and why she was so disconnected.

It took us months to get to this point and even after waiting all that time, my sister needed help from a professional to work through her problems, not just a single conversation with family at the dinner table. I wondered at what point in time does someone stop and look around at how they are living and decide that enough is enough — “I need help.”

Someone in need of help may display this need in a multitude of ways. A person making too many jokes at their own expense or joking about the death of a loved one can be signs and symptoms of needing professional help, though this is not always the case. The best way to work around this potential confusion is to ask the person up front. Be direct with your questions and show them that you care enough to put yourself in an uncomfortable position to ensure that they are okay.

On the other hand, when you are feeling down, staying in during the weekends more often and isolating yourself from friends and family, you should reflect on the situation at hand and ask yourself a couple of questions: Why am I isolating? Is it due to a recent issue that has come up in my life? Do I want to change my situation? Why or why not? These questions can help discern whether your situation might need outside assistance and if so, you should familiarize yourself with local resources.

There are a variety of resources available for students on and off campus, with an emergency therapist on dial through Campus Security (918-631-5555), Counseling and Psychological Services (918-631-2200), the CaneCares reporting tool ( and the Mental Health Lifeline (988).

Post Author: Alex Soeder