Why you should go to the counselor even though you’re not depressed

Blossom Onunekwu, Staff Writer

Mental health has always been a topic that people would rather not think about. From little boys being told not to cry, to older generations thinking mental illnesses aren’t real, the American culture hasn’t been so accepting of mental health. But when you break a leg or an arm, everyone’s sympathetic and telling you to see a doctor.

Even when you’re not sick, you’re still encouraged to go see your doctor to prevent physical illnesses or conditions. The same reasoning should be applied to your mental health. You shouldn’t wait until you’re mentally ill to seek professional help. Here’s why you should go to the counselor even though you’re not depressed.

1. Your friends have their own problems.



You might think that just because you’ve known your friends for so long that they’ll be able to figure out your every need. But your friends have their own needs too. College comes with 99 other stressors and sometimes they aren’t in a good place themselves to help you out. It’s great to vent to your friends about people or issues in your life that bother you, but if your friends have a ton on their plates and even more in their ears from you, it’s best to be more considerate.


2. Your friends won’t always give the best advice.


Another reason I recommend seeing a counselor is because your friends are not counselors. They have absolutely no credentials to help you figure your life out, and no, taking PSYCH 101 with Jenkins does not count.  

You might have had your friend play psychologist successfully before, but once grades get locked in and stress rises, so does agitation. Your friends might have the best intentions but give you bad advice anyway that only hurts your mental health.  

3. You don’t know everything.



You might think if your friends can’t help you, then you’ll just figure it out on your own, right?  Well it might not be so easy. Just like your friends, you’re an angsty, stressed-out, and broke college student with little to no credentials. If something really does feel off, it might be best to seek professional help in tackling the matter before you jump to unfounded conclusions.

Even though we’re all adults managing jobs, schools, and extracurriculars, we’re not superheroes, and the stresses of college life can weigh down on us. We might be great at turning in homework at exactly 11:59, but we have our weaknesses too. Luckily, helping people figure out their lives is a counselor’s strength.


4. Sometimes you’ll feel better just getting things off of your chest.


If you have a lot on your mind and a lot on your heart, releasing everything and being open for just a couple minutes of your life can be refreshing. It’s as if you’re taking a huge weight off your shoulders. And it’s not as if you’re airing out your dirty laundry to the world. It’s more like you’re just trying to cleanse your mind.

In my experiences, talking to a counselor was like taking a test: after my session ended, I felt rejuvenated and free. Similar to holding in powerpoints of information, I was holding in endless bullet points and sticky notes and to-do lists and things to think about. It was all distracting me from getting work done efficiently, so I decluttered my brain by sharing my thoughts with my counselor. And after the meetup, I felt capable of tackling any upcoming task.

5. Their services are free.

One of the wonderful things about college is that it’s loaded with resources that you will have to pay for once you graduate. We students are still trying to figure ourselves out, and sometimes it can get a bit stressful. That’s why we have services like CAPS to help get our lives together.  After you graduate, you’re the one responsible for finding a therapist you like, driving to the office, and paying him/her for the services. We have the privilege of on-campus psychologists that work with our schedule and don’t ask for a service fee. Don’t take their services for granted!

6.. You actually might be depressed. Or even anxious.

Let’s be honest. If you’ve taken a psychology class, you’ll know that there are thousands of mental disorders known to man. Stress is a risk factor for several mental and physical conditions. By self-diagnosing, you put yourself more at risk since you’re not getting the treatment you urgently need. It’s like taking asthma medication when you actually have pneumonia (there is a correlation between inhaler users and an increased risk of pneumonia (Paul et. al, 2010)). The medicine you take won’t be that affective and eventually your symptoms will get worse. Counselors studied mental illnesses for years and can discern between conditions better than Google can.  If you are showing signs of mental illness, it’s best to seek out help from a counselor and determine what’s really going on.


Even if you’re not suffering from depression or having panic attacks or suicidal thoughts, if you constantly feel mentally uncomfortable, if you always feel the need to get something off your chest but you’re afraid to be a burden, or if you just need someone to talk to, consider seeing a counselor.

CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) is located on Mercer University’s campus behind the Mary Erin Porter Residence Hall. They are available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday and can be reached by phone at (478)-301-2862.