Editor's Note: This story was featured in The Plainsman's special print edition for 2021 Camp War Eagle. You can check out an online version of that edition here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that mental health is as important as physical health. Stay mentally healthy can be challenging for many college students, though, due to their busy schedules and stress from schoolwork.
“Mental health is extremely important because it affects how we think, feel and act in our daily lives,” said Christy Newberry, licensed psychologist with Auburn University’s Student Counseling and Psychological Services.
Not only does our mental health affect how we think, feel and act, but it also influences how we respond to challenges, stressors and difficult situations in our lives.
Newberry mentioned some specific stressors or triggers faced by college students, including a lack of social connection which can lead to isolation and loneliness.
Some other stressors mentioned by Newberry include missed opportunities, uncertainty about the viability or economic security of a future career, current financial stress, a lack of coping skills, shifting expectations and fears about the unknown.
“Recent surveys and current research findings have suggested that college students have been faring less well in terms of mental health in previous years even prior to the pandemic,” Newberry said.
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To deal with all of the challenges that college students face, Newberry said it’s crucial to work to develop positive mental health characteristics.
“[Good] mental health is not just the absence of illness,” Newberry said. “It is the presence of positive characteristics.”
These positive characteristics include, but are not limited to, feeling good about yourself, being flexible, adapting to change, respecting yourself and others, forming satisfying relationships, working productively, making your own decisions, having a sense of self-confidence, laughing, having fun and finding purpose.
“Negative thoughts can negatively impact our mental health and lead to poor self-esteem and dissatisfaction with ourselves and our daily lives,” Newberry said.
Newberry said it is important that when we experience this negative mentality, we actively work to minimize it and ultimately overcome it.
According to SCPS’s website, students can join the clinic for the Zen Den and Get Mov’in with Moose — a routine walk with the clinic’s therapy dog. The walk is held every Thursday at 4 p.m. beginning outside the Student Center Starbucks.
The clinic also offers workshops such as Preparing for Change, the Anxiety Toolbox and Getting Unstuck. SCPS offers individual therapy and group therapy as well.
Some of the group therapy sessions offered include Understanding Self and Others, The Not So Perfect Family, Empowerment and Mindful Eating.
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