The Health Services Center and Counseling Center work coherently to provide for student needs. Healthy mental habits need to be created and followed on a daily basis.
Jen Sorenson, Physicians Assistant Director for Student Health Services, said, “Office visits for mental illnesses have increased from 12 to 18 percent in the last year.”
Changes in lifestyle, taking college level courses, financial stress and living away from home contribute to this growing trend in students.
Sorenson works with psychiatrists, primary care clinicians and counselors to best connect students to resources available.
She works with students to agree on which medications, if any, will best serve their needs. For some students, therapy and a lifestyle change are the best cure.
“Healthy living is so important,” said Stacey Ger, Director of the Counseling Center.
Students can achieve this by eating well-balanced meals, staying active with activities they enjoy and getting eight hours of sleep. In addition, being involved with activities they love and being self-aware will encourage positive mental health.
“We think that mental health can be fixed by a quick mindset switch, but you need to create healthy habits mentally,” Sorenson said.
Barbara Seiser, Nurse Practitioner in the Student Health Services Office said students should “learn self-awareness and be engaged with the world.”
The Community Advisors and Residence Advisors in the dorms have helped enough students to know when a student would need professional help. If they do not know, they have resources to which connect students.
If you think you need help, talk to someone.
Ger said, “Eighty percent of communication comes from body language and tone of voice, so with technology, miscommunication is more likely.”
Tips for positive mental health include a consistent sleep schedule, turning off electronics and learning to deal with conflict in a healthy way. Conflict can be a good thing because it improves communication, deepens understanding and moves things forward.
“Life is a process, the learning and development never stop,” Ger said.
Ger works with the Counseling Center as they conduct clinical work, individual therapy and group therapy for mental illness.
They have seen it all: anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychotic episodes and more. Students dealing with mental illnesses are not alone.
The counseling center is free and confidential for all students. It is located on the third floor of Delzell Hall; open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with emergency services provided 24/7.
Ger stresses the value and time of every student. Serving over 600 students and having over 3,000 sessions per year, Ger asked students to call and cancel an appointment, if needed, instead of not showing up. This allows the staff to schedule another student in need during that time.