Students may find that one of the barriers to accessing mental health care may be a lack of familiarity with the process. Here is some helpful information about how to access mental health care, what to expect from counseling, and some specific considerations for LGBTQ people.
Q: How do I know if I need mental health treatment?
A: Many people can benefit from speaking to a counselor to gain insight into themselves, or their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sometimes, we want to improve our mood or our relationships. At other times, we may feel high levels of stress as we manage the academic/professional, social, family, peer, and financial aspects of our lives.
At still other times, we might be exploring our identities or taking steps to express ourselves and may feel anxious about examining these aspects of ourselves. Talking about it in a safe, confidential and supportive space, with a counselor who understands and has expertise with your identities, can provide emotional relief. You can learn tips and coping strategies to better manage everything in your life.
Q: What are common reasons that Hopkins students seek mental health treatment?
A: Some of the most common reasons that Hopkins students seek mental health treatment include feeling overwhelmed, experiencing anxiety, stress, or depression, , wanting to work on self-confidence, talking about time management and procrastination, or wanting to improve communication and relationship functioning.
Students may also want to explore their sexual orientations and gender identities in a safe and supportive environment. They might seek support while in the process of coming out to families and friends. They might be interested in exploring a gender transition and want help in this process.
A self-assessment can also be helpful to know what resources may be a good fit for you. The Stress and Depression Questionnaire is a confidential, convenient, and safe way to find out how stress and depression may be affecting you, and you will receive personalized feedback within 24 to 48 hours from a Johns Hopkins counselor. Visit this page to find the questionnaire for you based on your enrollment.
Q: What happens in a counseling session?
A: At first, the counselor wants to get to know you and does this through several methods: asking you to complete paperwork, getting your consent for treatment, and asking you specific questions about your background. It can be confusing, especially if it’s your first experience with mental health treatment.
Remember that counselors and administrative staff are there to answer your questions and are always willing to help you through the process. Dr. Karen of Psychology Demystified also has a great video on Youtube that goes into what happens in the first session here.
After the first session (or couple of sessions), talking to a counselor becomes a conversation. Sometimes, the counselor may ask you questions; other times, the counselor may let you guide the dialogue. The process varies a bit because each counselor has their own personality and their own unique ways of doing things.
Q: What are some other things to know?
A: There are a lot! Here are a few key points.
Q: What are some myths about counseling that are not true?
A: There are a lot! Here are some common ones.
Q: What mental health services are available for JHU students?
A: Students can access a variety of mental health resources through the Hopkins mental health centers, depending on school affiliation. Staff at all centers receive training and maintain continuing education to work with the LGBTQ+ population, including SAFEZONE training.
For students living outside of Maryland and in the US, TimelyMD offers free counseling and psychiatric services (regardless of school affiliation or state location). In addition, for students in the US and in other counties, TimelyMD also offers TalkNow, a 24/7 service where you can talk with a counselor any time, without an appointment.
Students seeking care in Baltimore or in another area can search an online database of mental health providers at Thriving Campus. You can utilize the different search functions to find a provider who meets your needs.
If you’re now feeling more prepared to take the first step of seeking out mental health treatment, congratulations! Here are some recommended next steps.