Overcoming Stigmas and Asking for Help

By Ashley Berry, 05/17/2022

In the age of edited social media, a global pandemic, and an uncertain world, many are struggling with their mental health in one way or another. In 2017, over 40 million adults in the US had an anxiety disorder. (NAMI) This number has certainly risen due to the Coronavirus pandemic. College can be an especially anxiety-ridden and unpredictable time. In my first year of college, I experienced mental health struggles for the first time in my life. I kept to myself and never wanted my parents or friends to know that I was having a hard time. I came to realize that if I continued to suffer alone, I would never be able to get the help I needed to pull myself into a better place. Asking for help was the first step I took to start feeling much better. Taking care of your mental health is often a constant process, but one made much easier with the help of others.

So why is asking for help challenging?

According to a Student Voice survey (Inside Higher Ed; 2021), 65% of students reported having fair or poor mental health. However, only 15% of students actually utilized college-offered counseling services.


Although nearly 1 in 5 Americans (52.9 million people; 2020) struggle with mental illness, stigmas still exist in our media, society, and communities. This can create a real fear of seeking help or even fully acknowledging that a mental health challenge is being experienced.

Lack of affordable resources

11.1 percent of Americans with a mental illness do not have insurance.

How to ask for help

  1. Often college campuses have low cost or free mental health services that are confidential. Reach out to your campus mental health services to see what the available treatment options are. You can also ask for outside resources if the waiting list is long and you would like to be treated sooner. Many of these services will be a text, phone call, or quick email away!
  2. There is strength in community! If you have a group or someone that you trust and feel safe discussing your challenges with, then reach out to them.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use a crisis hotline if you need to. These lines are available for free 24/7 by text, phone, and webchat.

Additional Resources:

College Resources

Always check with college counseling and mental health services. These options will often be extremely low cost or free!

BIPOC Mental Health Resources

Suicide Prevention

  • National Suicide Prevention: 24/7 suicide hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Chat– a service of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, connecting individuals with counselors for emotional support and other services via web chat that is available 24/7
  • Trevor Lifeline- 24/7 crisis & suicide hotline, text line, and web chat, 1-866-488-7386; provides crisis & suicide intervention & prevention to LGBTQ+ youth under 25
  • Veteran’s Crisis Line-  24/7 crisis & suicide hotline, text line, and web chat, Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1; Text 838255
  • Crisis Text Line: 24/7 textline, Text ‘HOME’ to 741741 to speak with a trained Crisis Counselor
  • Now Matters Now – offers suicide prevention stories, articles, and research based tools for “managing the most painful moments of life”

Hotlines (free)

  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 24/7 helpline. Provides crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters and treatment referral routing service, 1-800-985-5990
  • The StrongHearts Native Helpline: daily from 7 am-10 pm CST. Domestic and or sexual violence helpline specifically for Native communities, 1−844-762-8483
  • Trans Lifeline: 24/7 crisis hotline. Provides direct emotional and financial support for trans people in crisis,  877- 565-8860
  • National Parent Helpline: Monday- Friday 12 PM – 9 AM CST. Provides emotional support and advocacy for parents, 1-855-2736
  • Parents Helping Parents– 24/7 parent stress line for parents who need to discuss issues related to their children, 1-800-632-8188
  • SAFEline: 24/7 hotline for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and child abuse, 512-267-SAFE (7233)
  • WarmLine: Monday- Thursday 12-8 PM, Friday 12-4 PM. Warmline providing space for those needing to talk about the stress and challenges they’ve been facing, 512-548-YWCA (9922)
  • Military One Source– 24/7 warmline that offers free non-medical counseling to children and family members of active duty, National Guard, Reserve, Department of Defense Civilians, and school staff.

Text (free)

  • Crisis Text Line: 24/7 suicide and crisis text line. Text ‘HOME’ to 741741
  • Disaster Distress Text Line: 24/7 distress and crisis text line for people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters and treatment referral routing service. Text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746
  • SAFEline: 24/7 text line and chat for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and child abuse.Text (737)888-7233 or Click Here for live chat
  • Trevor Text: 24/7 suicide and crisis text line for LBTGQ+ Youth under 25. Text ‘START’ to 678-678

Tools, Worksheets & Exercises

[source: https://collegeforward.org/college-resources/mental-health-resources/ ]