Holly Burke

Holly Burke

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As students’ lives change they are faced not only with the pressures of school, but also with roommates, paying bills, dealing with relationships and living independently. Many students begin to feel anxious or depressed for these reasons. Though some have dealt with this problem before, it is a new problem for many, and may be difficult to recognize.

Today at the UU Plaza, Cal Poly Health and Counseling Services will recognize National Depression Screening Day, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., by offering free screenings for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The event will be held in conjunction with the Mark S. Reuling Memorial Annual Volleyball Challenge, on Friday, Oct. 7, with faculty games at 11a.m. and noon, and student games at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Today is the last day for registration.

Mark S. Reuling graduated from Cal Poly in 1991 as a construction management major. While at Cal Poly, Reuling excelled as an active honor student. After graduation Reuling stopped taking medication for his bipolar disorder and later committed suicide. Reuling’s parents hold the event annually to raise funds for assistance and awareness about mental and emotional health issues.

Though Reuling’s case was extreme, many are affected by these diseases. Many are embarrassed to seek help.

“If you had influenza you wouldn’t expect people to use will power to make is go away,” said Rojean Dominguez, health educator and organizer of the event. “But people with mental health issues expect that if you’re just strong enough, you can make it go away. That is what we are trying to increase awareness of.”

If students are uncomfortable turning in questionnaires to the booth, they can pick up a confidential questionnaire and submit it to counseling services. They are also free to stop by counseling services any time.

It may be difficult for some students to realize that they have a problem at all. There are signs however, to recognize in friends.

“I would encourage people to approach their friends if they notice there is a change,” Cal Poly psychologist Elie Axelroth said. “For example, if they have a friend that doesn’t feel like going out anymore, and it seems they’re sad and feeling pretty negative about things. There is something about depression that sometimes when you’re depressed you don’t realize it. You get kind of caught up in feeling bad and you know things aren’t quite right.

“We want students to feel good, we want them to do well in school, and to have healthy relationships and feel good about themselves.”

For more information call Health and Counseling Services at 756-6181.

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