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Allison Carter

Professor Houston

English 2089

October 31, 2019

Challenging the Negative Stereotype Behind Therapy

Going to therapy can be such a positive experience, yet many people refuse to go. Society

has created a negative stigma around people going to therapy, which I really want to challenge.

This stigma primarily affects young adults around their college years because they are concerned

with what other people think about them. My goal is to shine light and normalize going to

therapy in multiple ways. It is important to recognize that the number of college students looking

for counseling has increased, there are organizations that want to normalize mental health, there

are many options when it comes to counseling, and therapy is extremely helpful for an

individual’s overall well-being.

After surveying students at the University of Cincinnati, it is evident that many young

adults feel like they are admitting there is something wrong with them and their peers will talk

badly about them if they choose to go to therapy. These two things combined significantly

impact those who need help but are struggling to take the step out of their comfort zone. The

number of college students that have been seeking therapy has increased significantly and, “the

number of students visiting counseling centers increased by about 30% on average ”. It is

important for students to recognize that they are not alone. To keep up with this growing

demand colleges across the country are changing, “UCLA offered all incoming students a

free online screening for depression. More than 2,700 students have opted in, and
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counselors have followed up with more than 250 who were identified as being at risk for

severe depression, exhibiting manic behavior or having suicidal thoughts”. Universities

are having to adopt new programs to keep up with the demand for help , and so many of

them are springing into action with full force to help their students have access to the

resources they need. Another example of this is at Ohio State University where they have,

“added a dozen mental health clinicians during the 2016-17 academic year and has also

launched a counseling mobile app that allows students to make an appointment, access

breathing exercises, listen to a playlist designed to cheer them up, and contact the clinic

in case of an emergency”. It is truly amazing that schools are doing what they can to

implement resources like these. The University of Cincinnati has their own counseling

services for students as well. CAPS was created to be a resource for students in need of

help.

There are organizations out there that are raising awareness on normalizing mental

health and therapy. 1n5 is a great organization that is, “ focused on making a difference in

how we talk about mental health. Our youth are in crisis, with 20% of youth ages 13-18

living with a mental health condition”. The organization’s name highlights the fact that 1 in 5

adults will experience some type of mental illness in a given year. Within the website there are

many tools an individual can learn from. You can explore different mental health conditions like

stress, anxiety, depression, grief, mindfulness, and ADD/ADHD. The website has a page

dedicated to individuals sharing their mental health journey where they create a video talking

about what they are going through and what they have done to get help. There is a woman named

Jacqui who shares her story and says, “mental illness isn’t something you can just “get over”. It’s
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biology and not your fault”. It is important to remind people who are struggling that it is not their

fault and they are not weak for seeking help. Seeking out therapy or any type of help is hard to

do but taking that step can lead to a much healthier life.

There is an alternative to showing up to a therapist’s office if it is too uncomfortable or it

is unable to fit into someone’s schedule . Online therapy has been developed and is used often

but it is not talked about much. An author for The Talkspace website wrote, “I actually wish I

had

started online therapy sooner because it was difficult to convince my last boss to allow me to

take time off from work to go to therapy sessions”. Online therapy is an awesome resource that I

do not think is talked about enough. There is skepticism surrounding online therapy, but it is

believed it can, “"normalize mental health care, especially among generations now who are so

accustomed to interacting with people using technology” which is really what our society and

generation needs. An individual is able to receive the help they need within the comfort of their

own home and it can be much less intimidating than going into an office.

Overall, going to therapy is much more common than most assume. Our society has

created a negative stigma behind therapy which significantly impacts how young adults deal with

the decline in their mental health. Instead of dwelling on that stigma, it is important to expose all

the tools for getting help that are out there and to normalize going to therapy. Universities are

moving to make therapy more accessible, there are organizations to educate about mental health

while normalizing it, and there are other options to sitting in an office to talk. It is important for

young adults to know they are not alone, they are not abnormal, and there is absolutely nothing

wrong with them.