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Members of Pi Chi and Lighthous offered resources on National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 11 in Grewcock Student Union. Lucile Townley | Courtesy

Hillsdale’s Light­house Club, a mental health awareness orga­ni­zation, part­nered with the psy­chology hon­orary Psi Chi to organize a depression screening booth in the Grewcock Student Union for National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 11.

The two orga­ni­za­tions sought to spread awareness about depression and provide those who suffer from it with resources and support. Members of Light­house and Psi Chi manned the booth throughout the day, informing passing stu­dents about a free online screening survey designed to identify depression and about the resources available on campus to deal with diag­nosed and undi­ag­nosed depression.

Resources available to stu­dents include the Health and Wellness Center, which pro­vides free coun­seling for all stu­dents. The stu­dents working at the booth also pro­vided Director of Health and Wellness Brock Lutz’s phone number and email, and the contact infor­mation for the National Suicide Pre­vention Hotline.

Psi Chi Pres­ident and senior Lucile Townley said the event chal­lenged the social stigma around depression.

“There wasn’t as big of a turnout at the table as we hoped for, but that is partly because there is still such a stigma about coming to talk about it,” Townley said. “Hope­fully just by being there, we not only got the idea out, but des­tig­ma­tized it and showed people that were afraid to come talk to us that there is support for them on campus.”

Senior Marina Bostelman, pres­ident of the Light­house club, empha­sized the impor­tance of pro­viding stu­dents with both the survey and the resources.

“The survey is not intended to replace a diag­nosis of depression but to give stu­dents the oppor­tunity to self-evaluate and see if they could use some addi­tional help,” she said. “That’s where the sheet comes in with the resources the college has for mental health and a reminder that they are free. We def­i­nitely don’t want to provide a screening tool like this without also reminding people about the resources that are available to them.”

Chair­woman of Psy­chology and adviser to Psi Chi Kari McArthur cited a World Health Orga­ni­zation study that con­firmed the increase in mod­erate and severe depression on college cam­puses as well as the ambiguous nature of its symptoms.

WHO found one in three college freshman cite some mental health con­dition, most com­monly depression, the symptoms of which range from changes in appetite, sleep, and mood to sadness, irri­tability, and feelings of worth­lessness.

“It just affects so many aspects of a person’s life,” McArthur said. “It even affects you cog­ni­tively, in the thinking process. And if you think about the function of a college student trying to operate with lower cog­nitive ability because of the depression they are dealing with, it makes life much more dif­ficult.”

Bostelman said she does not believe Hillsdale’s campus has avoided this increase.

“I think that Hillsdale can be a very stressful, pressure-filled envi­ronment,” Bostelman said. “And when you are in a sit­u­ation where you’re pushing yourself to do well and everyone else around you is also working extremely hard, it can be very easy to start devel­oping some symptoms of depression.”

Far from fin­ished in its battle against depression, Psi Chi plans to host an event later in the semester in which stu­dents will have the oppor­tunity to play com­puter games with software specif­i­cally designed to relieve stress and decrease anxiety.

McArthur said it is extremely important to under­stand the signs of depression and look for them in friends on campus.

“There is a dif­ference between talking to a mental health pro­fes­sional and a friend. I would encourage friends to help get their friends into coun­seling if they need it,” McArthur said. “It doesn’t have to be any­thing extreme. You can encourage your friends to call Mr. Lutz, offer to make an appointment, offer to walk them there and wait in the lobby — those kinds of ges­tures are important.”

The fol­lowing resources are free and available to stu­dents who need it:

Hillsdale College Health and Wellness Center

Phone : (517) 607‑4368

Brock Lutz, Hillsdale College Director of Health and Wellness, Clinical Coun­selor

Phone: (517) 607‑2561

Email: blutz@hillsdale.edu

National Suicide Pre­vention

Phone: 1 – 800-273‑8255

Online chat (with coun­selors):

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/