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Break the Stigmas, Seize the Awkward

"It’s always important to be proactive than reactive. People wait until things are at such a low spot that it’s so hard to rebuild."
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Emily Teegarden, two-time alumna of NKU
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NKU Magazine sat down with Amy Clark, director of Student Counseling Services, to debunk mental health myths. Clark, who encourages everyone to break the stigmas and seize the awkward, emphasized the importance of self-care as the first step in mental health awareness. 

“It’s always important to be proactive rather than reactive,” she says. “Specifically talking about individual or couples’ counseling. People wait until things are at such a low spot that it’s so hard to rebuild. If they’re proactive, they start to realize the differences in their overall mood. I think it’s a way for students to practice self-love and self-care.”

If you’re looking for ways to work on your own self-care, Clark suggests these tips:     

  • Value yourself/practice self-love. Be kind and respectful to yourself.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. We all need a supportive, loving community.
  • Quiet your mind. Try meditating, mindfulness and/or prayer to initially quiet your mind. Some of us work hard to stay busy and keep our mind preoccupied, but it hinders our health, effectiveness and productivity in the long run.
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs. During this time more than ever, college students are using substances to self-medicate. It's important to be aware of your use and be accountable.
  • Give yourself and serve others. Volunteering your time and energy is not only a great way to help others but, in turn, it enhances your mood and mental wellness.
  • Reach out for help when you need it. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. We are not meant to do life alone.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Clark encourages students, faculty and staff to participate in the university’s virtual events—some of which are ongoing throughout the year. 

“We’re trying to offer a variety of mental health events for different student groups,” she says. “If students have different interests or struggles right now, I encourage them to take part.” 

NKU’s Office of Health, Counseling and Student Wellness also offers campus groups the opportunity to host presentations and other outreach programs. Some of these programs include QPR Suicide Prevention, Alcohol Awareness and First Aid. 

If you are experiencing hard times and need someone to talk to, schedule an appointment today with one of the NKU Health, Counseling and Student Wellness counselors. Virtual appointments are available, and in-person meetings can be arranged.

About This Article

lizzie kibler
Lizzie Kibler ('16)
Contributor, NKU Magazine
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Published October 2020
Photography provided
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