“Can you help me?”
These four words seem simple, but for many people this question is nearly impossible to ask. Asking for help is something that can be extremely difficult, and fear is often at the root of it. Fear of being a burden, fear of appearing weak, and fear of rejection all have a part in discouraging people from getting the help they need.
Much of this fear comes from the idea that we have to be strong and independent, when this really isn’t the case. Humans lean on each other for support, and the stigma surrounding asking for help needs to be addressed. You don’t have to be completely in control and you don’t have to try and fix things on your own.
Natalie Rivera ’18, president of Active Minds, says asking for help starts with just one step. Talk to your roommate, a friend, your peer mentor, an R.A., or even someone from home. Make an appointment with an academic advisor or with the counseling center, which Natalie says you should do even if you don’t think what you’re dealing with is a “big deal.”
“It’s better to take preventative measures and talk it through with a counselor,” she says. “They’ll give you a direction to go in and sometimes that’s all you need.”
Whether you need help with schoolwork, a toxic relationship, balancing a crazy schedule, or want to talk about mental health, Concordia has the resources to help you. The Center for Student Success includes free tutoring sessions and a writing center where you can get help with papers. Located in the lower level of Fjelstad, you can stop by their office between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or schedule an appointment online.
The counseling center is also a great place to reach out for help with personal, relational, social or academic difficulties. Open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, you can stop by their office in Academy or email them to make an appointment.
Natalie works with the Active Minds organization to end the stigma of mental health and promote conversation about the topic. As president of Concordia’s chapter, she helps organize the events they host on campus. Once a month they have a table in the Knutson Campus Center atrium for Mental Health Monday, and they recently planned and presented a Mental Health Awareness week, featuring student panels and speakers.
Natalie wants students to be aware of the resources available to them on campus. “They’re here, they’re free, and they’re a good place to start,” she says.
So next time you ask, “Can you help me?” know that someone is waiting to respond with “Yes, I can.”
Bailey Tillman '18 studies multimedia journalism, Spanish and film studies at Concordia.