You’re Not Alone

Caleb Nelson

Depression. It floats in our periphery because so many people experience it, but dealing with depression alone can lead to bad, sometimes permanent and devastating decisions. Luckily, the University Health Services (UHS) Counseling Center is on campus to offer an attentive ear and a helping hand.

On the second floor of the Quinn Administration building, beyond the occasional tapping of heels, the omnipresent laughter of students, and away from the overwhelming pressures of class, Leah Livingstone sits behind her desk with an eager smile. This is the UHS Counseling Center office, intimate and warm.

“We’re here and we’re available, but not many kids know about us,” Livingstone said.

Although the center does their best to make its presence known at campus events, it is easy to gloss over gloomy words like therapy. Knowing there is support when you are victim to depression or anxiety is important, but accepting help is a crucial step that most people tend to get stuck on, Livingstone said.

“It takes courage to explore sensitive feelings,” reads one of the many encouraging pamphlets at the UHS.

Emotions left unexpressed clump up, and jabbing at them hurts. And even though that pain makes a person feel vulnerable, the very essence of humanity rests on the ability to experience emotion. Perhaps it is the fear of being seen as weak which keeps people from admitting they need help; it can hurt your pride.

Even so, according to a 2003 Penn State University Health Services student survey, 42% of students said they’d felt depressed over the past year, and 10% said they considered suicide.

Although depression is an extreme, everyone deals with stress. Some people go to the gym to relieve it, some drink, some talk, some eat; some of these methods even contribute to depression. There are constructive and destructive ways of dealing with emotions, but denying they are there doesn’t change anything.

As this semester continues and pressure grows, there is no reason to feel like you are alone, said the Director of the UHS Counseling Center, Dr. Edna Pressler in a previous interview.

“The University Heath Services Counseling Center is here to help students find the support they need to survive and thrive during their time at UMass Boston and beyond,” Pressler said.

Classes are well underway with people getting into their routines, filling up their schedule books, and meeting new friends. With so much going on, it’s easy to get lost in the midst and begin to feel alone in the crowd. Busy people can be rude, and textbook readings and papers are always looming. Sometimes it’s hard to meet people when everyone else seems occupied or distracted by their cliques, and since most people commute, the community at UMass Boston is transient at best.

The goal of the UHS Counseling Center, Livingstone said, is to help you improve your attitude about life, with the help of a friend.

“There’s someone available to talk Monday through Friday, if a student needs it,” she said.UHS Counseling CenterOffice: Quinn Admin. Building Room 2-040Phone: 617-287-5660

Office Hours: M-Th 8:30am-5:00pm, F 8:30am-4:00pm