Mental Health Awareness Week held at Simpson

by Bridgette Gardiner

Last week was Simpson College’s annual Mental Health Awareness Week, which is a time when Simpson counselors can pay special attention to concerns related to mental health.

These matters include but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, stress, alcohol use, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships and loneliness.

“I think some of the real common issues are things like anxiety, heightened levels of stress, depression, loneliness, relationships struggles, those I think are some of the real common reasons that we see people struggling here on-campus,” Director of Counseling Services Ellie Olson said. “They are really normal things that I think that all of us deal with from time to time, and so part of our goal this week is for people to see that they are not alone in these struggles and that they also don’t have to struggle alone.”

Some of the activities that counseling services did this past week included a three week long stress management course focused on tools students can use to deal with stress, a stress management workshop for faculty and staff, a film screening of the documentary ‘Happy’ and a mood screening.

If students feel they would benefit from the stress management course, it will be available again next semester or Counseling Services offers one-on-one sessions. Email Counseling Services to make an appointment.

Mood screenings are also made available through the Simpson Counseling Services website.

“The point with that [mood screenings] is not for people to take that survey and sort of be told ‘oh okay you have depression,’ that’s not the point, we’re not looking to diagnose anyone by taking a two minute survey,” Olson said. “What we are looking at is to help people learn a little bit more, maybe be pointed in the direction of some resources if there is something that could potentially be going on.”

With everything, there are pros and cons to doing things like this on-campus. Education and awareness of these issues are some of the pros Olson sees with Mental Health Awareness Week. A con she feels, is if a student sees the material and thinks they have a problem, but still does not reach out for support, it could possibly be detrimental to that person.

Counseling services is now located in the Kent Center with the General Health Services office. If you or someone you know could benefit from more information or support, contact Counseling Services by phone or email, both can be found online at

“I think it’s a week for us to spread awareness about common issue. To educate people, to normalize struggles with mental health concerns or with just general kind of life stuff,” Olson said.