Students recieve free anxiety screening

Marshall University’s Psychology Clinic offered free anxiety screening for students Friday afternoon in Harris Hall.

Krystyn Ford, a second-year student therapist, said the clinic has offered free depression screening days for the past few years and decided to include anxiety, because it is so common on college campuses.

“Anxiety disorders can be pretty debilitating to people who have them, especially generalized anxiety disorder,” Ford said. “We thought it would give those people an opportunity to come in and seek services.”

Ford said some people with anxiety disorder spend up to 60percent of their day worrying, which can be particularly stressful for college students.

Ashley Sansone, third-year student therapist, said free screening days are often the first time students have ever touched based with mental health services.

“We could see that it was really benefiting the campus community,” Sansone said. “Depression and anxiety are the two really common disorders that we see on college campuses, so we wanted to make sure we were addressing both.”

Sansone said balancing a mental health disorder with the common stresses of college life is something that definitely needs addressed.

“Coming to college is very stressful as it is, because you’re leaving everything you know, and you’re coming to a totally new environment,” Sansone said. “There’s a lot of academic stress, social stress and trying to meet new friends which can also cause anxiety. So we see it just compounding on college students, and I think it’s something that a lot of students want to have addressed as they adjust to college.”

Sansone said some stress during this adjustment is common, but it can become impairing.

“I think stress and anxiety, to a point, is a normal human experience, but it does reach that level where it becomes problematic and it causes a lot of distress,” Sansone said. “I think a lot of students struggle with is, ‘is what I’m experiencing normal or is it something I need help for?’”

Sansone said free screening days are quick and easy ways of seeing if students are in a normative range or if their anxiety is leading to additional problems.

“They fill out a questionnaire, and then one of our student therapists will give feedback about what range their anxiety is in,” Sansone said. “If they are in that problematic range, or even if they’re not, we talk about the therapy services on campus.”

Sansone said students can seek help at either the psychology clinic or the counseling center.

“We offer free therapy, and we can schedule them right after the screening,” Sansone said. “Right now we have a few group therapy options through the clinic. One is specifically related to anxiety, another is around self-esteem and another is about adjusting to academic stress, so we’ll talk about the individual options and also the groups.”

Sansone said although the screening days are good ways for students to get connected with mental health services, anyone is welcome to walk in or call the clinic to make an appointment.

“We want students to know that this is offered year-round and even in the summer,” Sansone said. “We are always available five days a week.”

Hanna Pennington can be contacted at [email protected].