Kinstler: A space to breathe

Introducing a new mental health advice column

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Illustrator: Jimmie Carroll

Ethan Kinstler, Staff Columnist

Hey, you. Yeah, you! How are you? How much water have you had to drink today? Actually, hold on, I think I’m getting ahead of myself. My name is Ethan, and I just want to talk to you for a minute.

I am a third-year psychology major here on campus. My interest in this field started young. Helping people and giving advice has always been, well, my “thing.” I’m a problem-solver; if you come to me with an issue, I’m going to put aside everything and help you work through it. We’re gonna talk about it, I’m going to give you strategies and articles you can read. I’m the person who wants to know why that man is crying on the subway at four in the afternoon even though it’s none of my business.

That brings me to why I’m here, or, I hope, why you’re still here reading this article. 

First, if you are still here, thank you, I appreciate it. Second, why? Yes, I know my personality is irresistable (jokes of course), but really, are you still here because you are dealing with something? How are you handling it? Maybe you haven’t even gotten to the point where you can handle it or know how to handle it, and you know what? That’s totally ok, and I want to help you.

The Observer has given me this wonderful platform to be able to reach, well, you! I want to use this platform to share my knowledge of psychology to help people work through their mental health. I want to give us the space to breathe. And then after we’ve had a breather, I want to have those tough conversations about mental health. I want to tell you about anxiety, about depression and about stress. 

I want to tell you that, regardless of what you’re going through, it’s ok, you’re ok; you are valid. I want to use this platform to shout from the rooftops that your mental health journey is uniquely yours and on this road trip the only wrong turn you can take is giving up because you are worth the effort to keep going.

If you’ll allow me, I want to give you not only my knowledge on how we can, together, build positive mental health, how we can overcome our anxiety, or whatever else it is you may be going through, but I also want to give you the advice of others: from my professors and from local mental health professionals, to resources on and around campus. 

Eventually, I hope to open the floor to all of you. We will work together to help you, and everyone else who shares your struggle, because I assure you, you are never alone, and have never been alone. You just might not know it yet. 

I want to not only create a safe space, but a personal space where you can tell me what it is you’re going through, or what it is you need from me and our university community. This will eventually take the form of a submission page on The Observer website where you can ask questions or share experiences—anonymously or otherwise.  

Together we will create a place where you can find, at the very least, a way out of the dark—a person to help you screw in the light bulb, if you will.