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October is Mental Health Awareness Month; What you need to know from CIU Seminary & School of Counseling

Dr. Benjamin Mathew with WIS News anchor Intesar Faulkner. (WIS)

October 9, 2023

Mental illness is affecting all ages in the United States at an increasing rate since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2020, one in 10 people under age 18 experienced a mental health condition following a COVID-19 diagnosis. Also, in 2020, there was a 31% increase in mental health-related emergency department visits among adolescents. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services reports one in five adults in the U.S. experienced mental illness in 2021.

October is Mental Health Month, a time to consider what can be done to assist those with mental health conditions.  

Columbia International University Clinical Counseling Professor Dr. Ben Mathew says Mental Health Month serves as an important annual reminder of the significance of mental well-being in our lives.

“It provides an opportunity for open discussions about mental health challenges, reducing stigma, and encouraging individuals to seek help when needed,” Mathew said. “By raising awareness and promoting understanding, Mental Health Month plays a pivotal role in fostering a more compassionate and supportive society where everyone's mental health is valued and prioritized.”

Hear more on the topic from Mathew, who was a guest on the midday news on WIS TV in Columbia. See his interview with news anchor Intisar Faulkner.

Also meeting with local media was another Clinical Counseling Professor, Dr. Seth Scott, who oversees CIU's new Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision program. He told reporter Rachel Ripp from News 19 WLTX there is a need for more counselors because current counselors are retiring and aging out of the profession, adding significant wait times for those seeking help.

"We see that we need more counselors in the communities around us and so while we want to focus on creating those counselors, actually by training trainers of counselors, we can exponentially affect the availability and accessibility of counseling in the field," Scott said. See more of the interview in the report, "New counseling PhD program in the Midlands, mental health resources."

Meanwhile, on World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10, the dean of the CIU Seminary & School of Counseling, Dr. David Croteau, spoke to the student body on the topic of anxiety in the life of the believer.

Croteau was transparent about his own struggles with anxiety for much of his life, and directed the students to Philippians 4:4-9, noting that the Apostle Paul writes “to be anxious for nothing” and then instructs his readers to adjust their thinking in verse 8.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Listen to the entire message from Dr. David Croteau and his practical application of the passage on CIU’s podcast page. Or see his message on CIU's YouTube channel. 

Learn more about CIU’s Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling, Master of Arts in Addictions Counseling and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.

CIU is celebrating 100 years of its mission to “educate people from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.” The university consistently ranks among the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report, as well as a Best Value Regional University in the South. Apply now or request information on enrollment by contacting Admissions at (803) 807-5024 or          

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