Don’t Let Mental Health Issues Isolate You; BCC Offers Support

Brandon Granite, Staff Writer

Mental health issues are something we all deal with. If you’re reading this, you may very well be dealing with this problem right now. Loneliness, financial struggles, depression and anxiety are all things that can lead to mental health concerns. Social media is also a significant factor. This affects a lot of people, especially younger generations including many college students.

On March 2, Brookdale was placed under a shelter-in-place lockdown as one student suffered a mental health crisis and threatened to self harm.

Elsewhere in N.J., a school counselor told that she had to check in with 91 students in one week in her district, as their monitored computer activity showed them to be at possible risk of harming themselves.

The N.J. Senate Education Committee heard these stories from districts all across the state. They later discussed what schools can do to prevent student suicides and help with mental health issues.

“When I feel down or depressed, I find it comforting to talk to someone and tell them how I am feeling,” said Joe Pobega, a 20-year-old computer science major from Hazlet. “It is always good to reach out and let somebody know how you are feeling. If you struggle with finding help, find joy in things that you loved doing before you were depressed. Eat healthy, focus on yourself, recollect your thoughts and see how much you’ve changed.”

According to 2021-22 figures from the New Jersey Department of Education, only 79 percent of the state’s 2,314 schools have counselors on site, for a total of 4,209 counselors. Not all schools in the state have the proper counseling to help students in need.

“When school counselors lead suicide prevention efforts, students benefit, and the programs can help students help other students,” said Jessica Smedley, legislative chair of the New Jersey School Counselor Association.

It’s important to realize what you are feeling, and you shouldn’t be afraid to get help. Many students reflected on what they do to keep their mind off whatever they are feeling or dealing with mentally.

“To help my mental health, I take a ton of naps and usually play video games,” said Tom Hill, a 21-year-old sports communication major from Hazlet. “Sometimes I’ll go for walks and try to take my mind off the situation that’s stressing me out. My advice to anyone going through it would be to reach out to a therapist or even just someone who cares. Even if it’s something very minor, people can still be there to help.”

“To help my mental health, I bring attention to it; I recognize when feelings of negativity arise and reach out for help where it’s needed,” said Olivia Annibale, a 21-year-old psychology major from Middletown. “I think an important aspect of helping someone with their mental health is to break the stigma around it. Mental health needs to be talked about and normalized so that people feel more comfortable reaching out for help. An impactful way to help others struggling with their mental health is by letting them know that they are not alone and making them aware of the resources available around them.

At Brookdale, there are mental health and wellness resources available for students and staff. Hotlines, counseling, student resources, and all other services are all available on the website.

Also, Brookdale, in partnership with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, has created an Every Mind Matters folder, a mental health and basic needs resource for all Brookdale students. This resource shares information for campus, local and state resources. Visit to access this resource.

 Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be reduced. If you are in crisis, call the National 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 9-8-8 or visiting 988lifeline.orgLinks to an external site.. You are not alone.