In September, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended that doctors screen all adults under the age of 65 for anxiety. While the impact of this recommendation on Lafayette students is unclear, the proliferation of mental health struggles is quickly becoming evident, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic drove many into isolation.
“When I was a freshman, in my first semester, I actually deferred … so it was completely remote,” Eliot Rusk ’24 said. “My first real semester on campus I definitely struggled with some parts and aspects of anxiety. Just becoming acclimated to a new environment and more rigorous academics, in addition to being away from home definitely caused me anxiety to an extent I probably have not really experienced before.”
Rusk considered utilizing the counseling center but heard mixed reports about its accessibility.
“I remember definitely pondering going there but I’ve never actually gone,” Rusk said.
Joshua Finn ’25 said that college life differs substantially from home life, but that he is handling the transition well, in part due to the college’s support systems.
“I felt pretty supported,” Finn said. “And then all the teachers – everyone’s always been accommodating in the beginning and throughout.”
Resident advisor Jonathan Moya ’25 feels that he is exposed to stressors atypical of the average student.
“There’s always the case of, ‘Oh, what if I’m on duty and something bad happens like a policy violation,’ or you see someone on the floor clearly unconscious,'” Moya said. “And so now that kind of responsibility is kind of in your hands.”
Moya said that he hasn’t had any particularly serious problems with mental health since his arrival on campus.
“I just want to say that mental health is definitely something that’s very important,” Moya said. “And it’s definitely something that should be a priority because if you don’t have the best mental health, it keeps you from doing the things that you want to do and it keeps you from doing great things. So if you need help of that nature, definitely seek it out.”
Staff counselor and assistant director of the counseling center Asmita Pendse described some of the mental health resources offered by the college.
“All Lafayette students have 24/7 access to an online, peer-to-peer mental health community where you can receive and provide support anonymously,” Pendse wrote. “Togetherall offers self-guided and evidence-based courses on various mental health topics, such as ‘Managing Stress & Worry,’ ‘Managing Social Anxiety,’ and ‘Managing Panic.’”
Togetherall is an online mental health platform for people who wish to reach out anonymously. Pendse also recommended the counseling center’s Anxiety Toolbox workshop, which will next be offered on Nov. 17 at 3 pm