Mental Health Awareness

News Date
Chris Johns 202 coun. center (2).jpg

ASU's Chris Johns (photo credit: David Campbell/ASU).

ASU Counseling Center Offers Year-Round Services for The Hornet Nation 
- May is Mental Health Awareness Month
By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the University's Counseling Center reminds ASU students and employees that it offers assessments and treatment for a myriad of emotional, behavioral and psychological disorders. The Center’s counselors also can provide just a friendly "ear" for those seeking advice. 
Chris Johns, director of ASU's Counseling Center (Center), explained that about three-fourths of all lifetime mental health disorders start by a person’s late teens and begin in earnest by their mid-20s, which is the average age of most of Alabama State University's students. He also stated that depression and other mental health illnesses may affect people at any time during their lifetime. The Center offers year-round services to help those who live, learn and work at ASU. 
"Our Center is free and open for any and all students and employees five days a week, all year long, summer included, and it's located in the J Garrick Hardy Student Center," Johns said. "Determining the early signs of mental health problems is not unusual for both teens and adults alike, and  getting advice and help is important in protecting one's own mental wellbeing and that of our friends, and classmates. Signs we should be aware of in ourselves and in our friends include prolonged sadness, anxiety, social withdrawal, and changes in behavior."

Johns explained that for many people, one of the problems leading to more severe cases of emotional and behavioral issues is that they don’t get the help they need early enough. Johns stated that if one is experiencing the signs of mental health issues, it is critical either to come to the ASU Center or to visit another professional practitioner. He feels that people often wait until much later in the life of the disorder to identify issues they have been dealing with for many years, which increases a persons’ suffering and isolation.

"Knowing how to spot the early signs of mental health issues and illnesses can equip you or someone you know who is affected by it to address problems earlier and feel better.  That is why we urge any member of the Hornet Nation Family to visit with us, which is totally confidential, and allow us to help people, help themselves. Many times it is not a serious issue," stated Johns.

Johns said the signs of mental health issues may vary, but the Center can provide coping strategies to help improve clients mental well-being. 

"Mental health is individualized and complex and no two people share the exact same genetic, environmental, and mental makeup, so problems will look different for everyone," explained Johns.

Though the signs may vary from person to person based on different factors and the type of emotional issue or mental illness, most people exhibit certain warning signs that fall into three specific categories: physical, behavioral and/or emotional.

Some of the general signs of mental health issues include changes in sleep; changes in appetite; lack of personal hygiene; increased sensitivity to lights or sounds; not wanting to be around people; scars or marks indicating self-harm; hair loss; weight changes; fatigue; nausea; increased heart rate; hallucinations; slowed speech; or hyperactive speech.
"If you or someone you love have been showing changes in any of these categories or in thoughts, feelings, or actions, use these warning signs as a guide to come by our office and visit with me or our staff, so we may determine the next steps and see if it’s time to seek support or therapy of some sort. We all deserve to live happy lives and our Center is here to help you do so," Johns concluded.
To contact ASU's Counseling Center334-229-4894.
News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.