Let’s talk therapy and mental wellness resources in college

Have you checked in with yourself lately?

College comes with many experiences, like meeting new friends, finding oneself, managing academics, and possibly navigating romantic relationships. Handling all this alone is hard and may come with conflicts. Friends are helpful, but sometimes can’t provide you with quality advice like a licensed therapist might. This step can be confusing. Here we discuss your most pressing questions about getting started in therapy and offer resources for your mental wellbeing. 

Getting started with therapy

1.  Finding a therapist 

This may be the hardest part of the process, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself. If you already know which type of therapy you would be comfortable with, narrow down your search to therapists who take that approach. From here, you can:

  • Ask friends for therapist recommendations
  • Research online therapy services
  • Check your insurance provider’s directory

Then, make a list of therapists you believe would be a good fit. Once you’ve done this, prepare to meet with them and ask questions that get to the heart of who they are. From here, you can decide if you see them as a long-term commitment and if you want to participate in regular sessions.

2.  What to expect from an initial therapy session

Going into an initial session is important, as it’s crucial to know what your goals are. Understanding what you want to work on weekly, or biweekly, ensures the best productivity throughout sessions. Some examples of this could be:

  • Learning how to love yourself
  • Navigating romantic relationships
  • Coping with anxiety or depression
  • Managing anger

It’s important to keep in mind that being nervous before your first session is completely understandable. The therapist is there for you, so you should never feel like a burden. Know that the experiences you go through are important.

3.  Owning your mental wellness journey

Remind yourself that you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and that at the end of the day, you are doing it to better yourself. If talking about it with a friend or family member as a support system works for you, embrace that. If you would rather keep it to yourself, that’s alright too. The goal is to never feel ashamed of doing something that benefits you even if it may make someone else uncomfortable. Own your wellness and this new part of your life. You should be proud of yourself.

Where to seek help

1.  On-campus resources

Campus mental health centers help students cope with mental health challenges and seek assistance. Many campuses offer services ranging from teletherapy to counseling. Most institutions provide services for free or at affordable rates.

Campus advocacy groups are student-led groups created to inform students about mental health, de-stigmatize it, and offer a support network.

2.  Off-campus resources

The National Alliance in Mental Illness Teen & Young Adult HelpLine can be used to get answers, support, and resources from another young person with shared experiences. They can be reached Monday through Friday, 10am-10pm ET. Call 1-800-950-6264, text “Friend” to 62640, chat, or email helpline@nami.org to connect.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255 or 988, is available 24/7 offering confidential support for people in distress or if you know someone in distress.

3.  Online support groups

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides a free, safe, and supportive environment for students to share experiences and to connect with others going through the same thing.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is a support group giving students with depression and bipolar disorder a safe place to share their experiences and coping skills.

4.  Online therapy

Therapy looks a lot different than it used to. Online therapy and counseling services are made easily accessible via video chat, audio, and messaging platforms.

Take your time

Getting started is always the hardest part. Finding the right therapist can be tricky and might take some time until you land on one that truly understands you. Therapy doesn’t look the same for everyone. Your mental health journey is unique to you. 

footnote Sallie Mae does not provide, and these materials are not meant to convey financial, tax, or legal advice. We make no claims about the accuracy or adequacy of this information. These materials may not reflect our view or endorsement. Consult your own financial advisor, tax advisor, or attorney about your specific circumstances. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.

footnote External links and third-party references are provided for informational purposes only. Sallie Mae cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by any third parties and assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions contained therein. Any copyrights, trademarks, and/or service marks used in these materials are the property of their respective owners.

footnote Sallie Mae, the Sallie Mae logo, and other Sallie Mae names and logos are service marks or registered service marks of Sallie Mae Bank. All other names and logos used are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners. 

StudentHub by