Freshmen face unique mental health challenges

Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

Freshman year isn’t just making friends, discovering how college classes are different from high school and going to Boise State football games. For many students on campus, freshman year can be incredibly challenging for their mental health.

Learning how to navigate this time, even with the resources available at Boise State, can be difficult for first-year students. 

A statement from the Office of the Dean of Students on the Boise State website states, “Mental health is an often overlooked aspect of overall well-being, yet is essential for us to maintain should we want to live successful and enriching lives.”

In addition to the universal challenges that come with balancing mental health, the changes that new freshmen in college experience can create an environment that makes it especially hard to stay mentally well and to reach out for help.

A current sophomore at Boise State, who preferred to remain anonymous, shared how her difficulties adjusting to living away from home affected her mentally.

“It was really bad,” the student said. “I really think it was that I was away from my friends and having a hard time. I was going to therapy, but it was super expensive, so I had to quit. I came here knowing no one, and it was really hard, lonely and stressful.”

This is a sentiment that many freshmen at Boise State share. Being away from home, having to make new friends and finding accessible resources while staying on top of classes and physical wellness is a difficult balance for most students. 

She offered her advice for freshmen this year on how to take care of their mental health. 

[Photo of Towers Hall at Boise State.]
Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

“Definitely take time for yourself,” the student said. “Don’t say yes to every single plan just because you want to meet people, you will. You’re going to end up being drained if you’re always going out and you’re tired, so focus on what you need for yourself.”

Another student here at Boise State, a freshman living in Sawtooth Hall who preferred to remain anonymous, shared her own experience as a current freshman. 

“It’s a big change. Making friends in such a new environment and balancing the workload is hard, and fear of missing out makes it worse,” she said. 

A recent study on mental health problems in college freshmen stated that 1 in 3 freshmen reported mental health issues, which often lead to a decline in academic success. 

While it’s easy to feel isolated when you’re struggling with your mental health, Boise State University Health Services provides resources to all students, such as counseling, crisis intervention, consultations and emotional support animal letters.

Counseling services are offered through Health Services from licensed counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists; they can provide community resources to students as well. 

Freshmen at Boise State need extra support from their school during the difficult transition period into life as a college student, and this isn’t currently provided. 

While there are resources for graduate students at Boise State, such as GradWell, there aren’t resources specifically for freshmen. During their time transitioning to Boise State, freshmen should make sure to check in with themselves and make the difficult step to reach out for help if they need it. 

Take the time to take care of yourself and make sure your mental health is not being pushed to a last priority, no matter how important academic success might be.

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