Mental health is common challenge for AB students: 1 in 2 face anxiety, 1 in 3 depression

By Talia Kotz

Amorette Hughes’ four years at Alderson Broaddus University was an emotional roller coaster. She struggled with severe anxiety and depression. Seeing a therapist and the support of friends and teammates on the Acrobatic and Tumbling team helped Hughes make it through her time here as a student. She now works a communications job in Morgantown.

Many students may be able to relate to Hughes. One in two AB students-54 percent-have felt overwhelming anxiety in the past 12 months with only four percent of students seeking help, according to the National Collegiate Health Behavior survey administered to students at AB during the spring 2018 semester.

The same survey also revealed that 35 percent of AB students have felt so depressed that it was difficult to function in the last 12 months with only six percent seeking help.

Chad Hostetler, Director of Personal Counseling Services at AB, says that if a friend is experiencing a panic attack to do slow grounding activities to get them in touch with their five senses. Getting in touch with your five senses during a panic can help ground you to your current surroundings and calm your breathing.

Signs and symptoms for generalized anxiety and panic disorder include an increase in heart rate, trembling or shaking, chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling detached, or fear of losing control and dying.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, generalized anxiety disorder is defined as an extreme worry or fear that is persistent and interferes with daily activities. It is also said that this excessive fear can be combined with a number of physical symptoms such as irritability or muscle tension creating panic attacks.

Hostetler highly recommends any student to receive help not just for complex issues, but also more common ones. Located on the second floor of Burbick, Alderson Broaddus is equipped with a free professional and confidential counseling service open to all students.

“My hope is that anyone seeking counseling knows that it is a privilege for the counselor to be able to be allowed involvement in their lives- not a burden or bother at all,” Hostetler said. “When students take the chance to come in, the counselor learns from their unique experiences and ways of dealing with things, so while always confidential, others benefit from you taking the chance to come in and share your own experience. Indirectly, you’re helping others when you help yourself, and they help you.”

By going to counseling, Hughes learned that talking about her problems helped not only herself, but others as well.

“I found that once I was more open about it and dealing with it correctly and safely, I was able to help others who have the same type of feelings,” Hughes said. “ It was important for me to let them know they weren’t alone, because I knew that is exactly how they felt.”

For more information on the counseling services provided at AB, you can contact Chad Hostetler by email at, or call at (304) 457-6320. More information is also provided at


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