Mental Health Resources


Athens and Ohio University provide safe spaces for students with mental health conditions

Paige Miller / For The Post

Moving to Athens is an adjustment for every college freshman, but Athens and Ohio University provide services for every student living with a mental health condition.

Athens County offers a number of psychological services for students who have been enrolled in counseling before or are new to counseling. The Gathering Place, 7 N. Congress St., is a social support center for people with mental illness.

“Staff members help link people on different treatment options in Athens and figure out things like Social Security,” said Daniel West, client rights and safety officer for The Gathering Place.

The Gathering Place helps people develop strong physical and mental health habits in a drug and alcohol-free environment while developing meaningful connections to others in the recovery process.

"Anyone over 18 is eligible to use The Gathering Place as a resource as long as they fill out an application,” West said. “We are in the process of starting a new program for people aged 18 to 22.”


Nate Swanson | FILE

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), located on the third floor of Hudson Health Center, is a great resource for counseling, psychiatry, and other services.

Activities like gardening, yoga, music therapy, art workshops, group meals, day trips and karaoke are offered to help people strengthen bonds and boost their morale.

Mental health conditions may emerge during college years, and students might have trouble knowing what to ask for and how to ask for it. Student Accessibility Services, or SAS, helps students manage the impacts of a condition in the classroom and on campus.

For mental health accommodations, students fill out an application and submit documentation from a medical professional or mental health provider before SAS decides if students are eligible for accommodations. Students may be asked to resubmit necessary documentation if there is not enough information supporting the student.

"Students can use CPS to help them fill out disability documentation forms that may require a medical professional's input,” said Christina Jenkins, associate director for Student Accessibility. “CPS has also been a valuable resource for teaching students coping skills for their condition."

Students can use services provided by Counseling and Psychological Services and SAS without notifying their parents because SAS is protected by FERPA laws, and CPS is protected by HIPPA laws. That ensures all information students share with those organizations is confidential.

SAS has given trainings to tutors, resident assistants and student organizations to make the university more aware of the impacts of conditions and normalize the mission of SAS for students who may feel alone.

"Student Accessibility Services promotes self-advocacy and independence, but we are still here to help,” Jenkins said. “We want students to remember who their allies are on campus."

The hardest thing for Diamond Allen, a sophomore studying women’s, gender and sexuality studies, to adjust to during college was becoming acquainted with a study schedule. Allen’s first semester wasn't as hard with classes and the homework level. She took prerequisites, and that made her realize how her study habits could improve.

“A good way to help another student who may be struggling is to invite them to events or create your own events to get people involved and connect with each other,” Allen said.

Allen’s coping mechanisms are playing Wii with her friends, having dance parties and reading or writing. She also likes to help others and be a source of positivity and encouragement. One way she does this is by writing encouraging post-it notes and hanging them in the women’s bathroom of her dorm.

"Listening to (others) is also a good strategy because sometimes that’s all we need is for someone to take us seriously and not judge," Allen said.


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