The Counseling and Psychological Services program is available for students who are seeking help for their mental health. CAPS offers 10 free sessions, but if students seek more help they must pay out of pocket. STATESMAN FILE

We’ve turned into a generation of perfectionists — which is evident in our behavior and mindset toward school. The increasingly competitive world we live in doesn’t accommodate people who don’t strive for perfection. Our constant desire for the perfect GPA can quickly take a toll on mental health. Stony Brook tries to help through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) program, which offers services for mental illness, medication management, advice and even people to vent to. While the services provided run far and wide, it can still be difficult to get yourself to go when you need help.

I have struggled with depression and anxiety since freshman year of high school. While it was hard to juggle school, my lacking social life and mental health, it was even harder to get help. It’s very easy to convince yourself that you have it under control. To this day I have never gone to a counselor, but I still sometimes feel like I should.   

Along with the challenge of getting help, cost is also a significant factor in finding the motivation. CAPS heavily advertises its proclamation of 10 free sessions, but something not usually considered is what happens after. I’ve recently learned from Kristin Sette, a freshman computer science major, that CAPS is mainly a referral program for people with long-term depression and anxiety. In fact, she only had one free session for her anxiety before they sent her to the Krasner Center,  an outpatient mental health facility affiliated with the Stony Brook Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, to pay for therapy from a doctoral candidate.

She pays $20 per session, which lasts about an hour. This is an apparent bargain compared to the $75 it could normally cost for therapy outside of school. I’m sure the difference in price is a big help to broke college students, but without any support from family, it’s still hard to dish out that kind of cash. I mean, for a student with classes five days a week and no job, it’s almost impossible.

What initially brought my attention to the issue of affordable therapy was the advertisements for the “Overcoming Social Anxiety” and “Overcoming Academic Anxiety” classes offered this month at the Krasner Center. Each of these classes are $120 for 10 sessions and I’ve got to admit, the price made me feel a bit uneasy. At first, the classes made me excited since I thought they could help, but the price ruined the mood.

Immediately after learning about the classes, I knew I would never sign up, no matter how beneficial they’d be. I had to think long and hard about if they were worth my while. I would feel worse if I had attended the classes and felt the same at the end, along with the fact that I had wasted my hard-earned money.

My point here isn’t to deprive any therapists of their well-deserved pay, but maybe these types of assets could be included in tuition. Although Stony Brook is a SUNY, it is still expensive for many families. To compensate, students should be provided with more free services to help them succeed, not just a referral.

Maybe if therapy was less intimidating and more accessible, students would feel more encouraged to go. There needs to be a common mindset throughout the university that it is okay to need and seek help. People like me are stubborn and feel like we can handle things ourselves when we can’t. Getting help should be strongly emphasized as a successful method of handling things. The perfectionist mindset of our generation can be detrimental and should be taken more seriously and, hopefully, cease to exist one day.