There are moderately high rates of mental illness in college students and as students, it can be difficult to balance our mental health. Many college students deal with things such as depression, anxiety and stress. It can be hard to recognize when you are struggling with your mental health because you might think that everyone feels this way and it’s just something you have to deal with. While it is completely normal and not weird to have depression, anxiety, ADHD or other mental health conditions, these things can get easier to manage when you speak to a mental health professional. It can be extremely hard to speak about mental health because you might be embarrassed or ashamed, but these professionals want to help you, not judge you. I spoke to local mental health practitioner Domenique Edwards on multiple topics pertaining to mental health and this is what she had to say.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: I am a local psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner based in West Seattle and I’ve been practicing for four years in the PNW! I would describe myself as an extroverted homebody who loves spending time with loved ones which of course includes my cat, Willa.
Q: What are some good coping mechanisms college students can use in everyday life?
A: Social connectedness, petting an animal, listening to music, making time every day for something you enjoy, body movement, prioritizing getting enough sleep and tons more I’m sure I left out!
Q: What is the difference between psychologists and therapists?
A: Psychologists have a psychology doctorate degree and can work in many different settings including academia/research, psychological testing and/or patient care. To be a therapist implies that you do the “patient care” piece primarily and do not necessarily have a psychology doctorate. Therapists come from many different educational backgrounds including psychology, social work, etc.
Q: How can we help our friends with conditions such as OCD, anxiety, depression, etc?
A: As humans, we generally do better when we have a support system (friends, family, chosen family, etc.) to confide in and be our authentic selves with. Sometimes just your presence, genuine concern and suggestion to see a professional can make all the difference.
Q: What are your thoughts on medication and its effectiveness?
A: Many people think I’m a therapist, but my role is actually primarily to prescribe mental health medications, so overall I am a big proponent of the positive benefits of psychiatric medications WHEN APPROPRIATE. You want to discuss with a health care provider first to see if medications make sense for you specifically.
Q: What are your thoughts on medication for patients under 18?
A: Great, when medically appropriate. Should be prescribed and monitored closely by a responsible practitioner with pediatric experience. I am one of the rare providers in the Seattle area that has experience and actively prescribes (when appropriate) for patients under 18.
Q: Why is it important to receive help?
A: When helped by someone who truly listens and understands, it can positively change your whole self-concept and life trajectory.
It is extremely important to find a mental healthcare provider that will work for you. If you want to receive assistance from a mental health professional such as Edwards, you can use Psychology Today as they have many mental health resources, as does Bellevue College.