Movies about college life show football games, wacky professors and wild parties. They rarely show the hidden struggles that many students face – challenges like depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Students are arriving on college campuses with existing conditions, and the unique stresses of college life can cause others to face challenges for the first time. For example, the 2014 American College Health Association found that 33 percent of respondents nationwide reported feeling so depressed it was hard to function at some time in the previous year. Almost 54 percent reported feeling overwhelming anxiety in the same time period.

That’s why The University of North Carolina at Greensboro marks September as Mental Health Month. It’s a time to educate students about campus mental health resources, encourage them to get help when needed, and de-stigmatize mental health. Students are reminded that, “It’s ok to ask. Ask for help. Ask for information. Ask a friend, ‘Are you OK?’”

The most anticipated event for the month is an appearance from nationally known suicide prevention advocates Sgt. Kevin Briggs and Kevin Berthia. The two will appear together in North Carolina for the first time as they share their compelling real-life story about how they met on the Golden Gate Bridge – one preparing to jump and the other determined to save him. This event is free and open to the public. Find details at shs.uncg.edu/bridge.

Among the 10 events held during Mental Health Awareness Month, the University will also participate in National Depression Screening Day with an event called “Check-up from the Neck Up.” In 2012, UNCG was named one of the top 10 in-person screening sites in the nation for this event.

“College should be an exciting time for everyone, and there are so many resources to help students so that they can tackle whatever challenges they may face,” said Dr. Cherry Callahan, vice chancellor for student affairs. “We just need students to remember that ‘It’s Ok to Ask.’”