Sue Thomas Elaborates on Mental Health

The following is extra information President Sue Thomas’s gave to Truman Media Network when posed the question in last week’s Q&A “How do you plan to destigamitze and help with the growing mental health concerns on Truman’s campus?” This information was taken out of her response originally due to redundancy, being tangential to the original question posed to Dr. Thomas, and space issues. Truman Media Network’s intention was always to stay true to what Dr. Sue Thomas had to say on the subject and apologizes for any confusion that may have risen from this Q&A. In the future Truman Media Network will be more transparent with our Q&A’s and indicating when information has been taken out.

Sue Thomas prefaced the Q&A by saying: “Truman is not alone in the increase of mental health needs. That’s true throughout all colleges and universities across the country.”

While elaborating on what Sue Thomas meant when she used the terms “psychological grit” and “resilience” she said the following: “If you’re not familiar with those kinds of ideas – what happens if you fail at something? You fall down. Do you pick yourself back up, use it as a learning experience do not beat yourself up about it, do not define yourself as a failure, do not have a major anxiety attack about it. How do you handle failure? How do you handle setbacks?”

Sue Thomas continued to elaborate on Psychological grit and reliance but also clarified counseling is important for the students on this campus and their mental health: “Many of our other students have significant anxiety issues or depression issues those kinds of things. Helping our students to develop good, strong ways to approach it themselves will help them to not need as much outside mental health counseling. That’s part of what counseling does. Good counselors help you to develop the skills and the approaches that you can keep yourself mentally healthy. That’s part of what therapy does. No counselor wants to see you your entire life. They’re helping you to develop those skills, mindsets, and approaches that you can then use when inevitably something wrong happens because something wrong happens in everybody’s lives so you can come back from it even stronger. So that’s one of the things we’re talking about on campus in supporting our students on campus not just in terms of having mental health counselors available for them which is very important but how do we develop good strong programming that help out students develop their own mental health strengths.”

Thomas also elaborated on why it’s important for students to reach out and ask for help when they do experience issues with their mental health or a severe mental illness: “It’s easier to do nothing and keep going even if you feel yucky than it is to ask for help. Asking for help is an enormous sign of strength. People should be proud when they reach out and ask for help because they’re saying ‘hey, I don’t get this, I need help figuring this out, this is really throwing me for a loss – I am going to actively take control of this, resolve it, solve it, figure it out, whatever it is.’ It’s a sign of strength to me not a sign of weakness. Asking for help early on. So many of out students wait until the critical stage before they ask for help. Then you need a whole lot more help and it might take a whole lot longer period of time then if you asked for help right up front when you realized you needed it.”