Unable to schedule an appointment, this student is taking therapy into their own hands. graphic by Emma Palmer

TU therapist shortage spurs spike in student self-help

Professional help unavailable, students turn to drastic physical change to help their mental health.

As the school year starts to ramp up (week three means at least two hours of reading a night, after all), friends and acquaintances are starting to finally catch up. Questions of “how was your summer?” and ‘“what have you been up to?” have led me to notice an interesting pattern: there have been a lot of new looks and hobbies on campus.

It took me a while to figure out what was up, but then I sorted it out. Over the summer (and let’s be real, during the school year) it was impossible to get in to see a therapist on campus. This means students took it into their own hands to transform their lives and dealt with their problems in the one way they knew how: drastic lifestyle changes.

Everyone knows the common one, give yourself bangs and suddenly everything is okay, but this past year has seen some new trends in this vein of self-help. Having already hit the bangs level of therapy and still needing more, next came the hair dye.

Some students actually claim this is a more potent therapy-like option that can last up to six or seven months, but no claims have been verified yet, as most students still have at least a good month to go before they’re clamoring onto the Alexander Health Center waiting lists. This has led to some variety in the drama of a new hairstyle, while also making this unique technique more accessible to all genders. Unfortunately, this option seems to work only once, especially if the first hair dye attempt is not exactly what the student in need of therapy wanted it to look like.

However, because this is 2019 and everyone is extra, some students have found a more sustainable therapy-like option: starting your own podcast. This option is distinct in that it has different flavors. This means that it works for different amounts of time depending on a number of factors, including popularity, amount of Freudian slips and ability to detangle past traumas without knowing it.

For the individuals who want a little more edge in their life, there seems to be an uptick in true crime podcasts. These seem to work as a solid destressor for those with a taste for the macabre. Others embrace their inner nerd and analyze a cult movie or start an actual-play podcast. This works for those who want to work through their feelings but can’t talk openly about them. They find meaning where it isn’t or project those feelings onto their character. It’s basically a modernized version of writing an angsty fanfic on fanfiction.net, but now you can actually get famous on the Spotify podcast charts.

The Alexander Health Center may have finally had the budget and staff to hire new therapists, but they obviously didn’t get the memo. TU students have at least three more months before they actually need therapy, so for once there won’t be a waiting list at all. Truly a blessing in these new (and more fashionable) times.

Post Author: Hannah Robbins