WSU provides support network for students experiencing mental distress
Department: Health and Wellness Services
Supporting fellow Cougs during times of need is the key to a tightknit and healthy Cougar family; that’s why it is important to take into account the mental wellbeing of yourself and others as students prepare to take final exams and complete the fall semester.
WSU students are experiencing many stressors for the first time in their lives; responsibilities are increasing, finances start becoming more difficult, relationships are getting complicated and academic stress can be completely overwhelming. When someone is feeling emotional or mental distress, those around them often miss key signals, are unaware of where to find help or experience uncertainty in asking for he
lp in the first place. Through Health and Wellness Services (HWS), Counseling and Psychological Services and the Dean of Students, WSU provides a network of support for students, faculty and staff that gives access to help for those who need it.
“Depression and anxiety are the two most prevalent health disorders that adult Americans face each year,” Victoria Braun, Emotional Health Coordinator for Health and Wellness Services said. “A lot of individuals are going through this, and it is important to check in with your friends, understand that this is a challenging time and know we are all in this together.” For students, academic performance and workload from classes can be taxing on their mental wellbeing; leaving some students to feel alone and in distress. At WSU, data collected by the most recent American College Health Association (ACHA) survey showed that almost 50 percent of students feel that academics have been traumatic or very difficult for them to handle within the last 12 months. Another 42 percent of students also reported facing more than average levels of stress within the last 12 months.
“A lot of people are going through this too and it is fully understandable that students feel this way,” Braun said. “Students are under a lot of pressure right now and if you are starting to have that hunch gut feeling, ask for help. Just keep asking.”
Health and Wellness Services wants to ensure that all students seeking help have access to the resources they need, especially as students are preparing for finals. Individuals seeking support in topics like stress management, test anxiety and finals preparation can attend several workshops being hosted by Health and Wellness services during the first two weeks of December. Students interested in attending these workshops or looking for more information on mental or emotional health resources, should visit the Health and Wellness Services’ profile on CougSync, WSU Coug Health Facebook and the HWS website listed below.
Another program being offered through HWS is the Mental Health First Aid course that prepares participants to assist those experiencing a mental crisis. Many individuals can feel inadequate or unsure as to how to help those affected by mental illness, and according to the ACHA data, nearly 60 percent of WSU students expressed interest in receiving information on how to help others in distress.
“Mental Health First Aid teaches the immediate care that you would provide to someone if they came to you and disclosed they were in some kind of mental crisis.” Braun said. “[The course] helps recognize signs and symptoms, and how to be supportive, in the moment, to guide those in mental crises to the appropriate care.”
Another avenue for help, WSU Counseling and Psychological Services recommends that all students with mental health concerns visit their office during walk-in hours or call the crisis services lines available on their website. Also listed on their website are online resources providing more information on mental health topics, access to other WSU departments and numbers for 24-hour crisis phone lines for anyone in need.
If anyone in the WSU community has concerns about a student’s mental or physical health, the AWARE Network provides an outlet to share concerns about a student’s wellbeing with WSU resources that can help. The AWARE network website also lists common signals of emotional or psychological distress and signs that a student may be affected by a mental health emergency. If someone you know is experiencing emotional or mental distress, please contact any of the resources below for guidance and support. Cougs are here to help.
- Health and Wellness Services, hws.wsu.edu, 335-3575, Washington Building
- Counseling and Psychological Services, counsel.wsu.edu, 335-4511, Washington Building
- After-hours Crisis Line, 335-2159 (evening and weekends)
- Dean of Students, 335-5757, 134 French Administration Building
- WSU Aware Network, aware.wsu.edu
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255