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Mental Health


 

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What is Mental Health?

Our mental health is comprised of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. If affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Many factors play a part in your mental status and stability:

  • Biology (genetics or brain chemistry)
  • Life experiences (trauma or abuse)
  • Family history of mental health problems
  • Your lifestyle (diet, work, physical activity, and substance use)

 

Signs of Poor Mental Health in College Students:

  • Increased absences or tardiness
  • Rapid decrease in grades/performance
  • Irritability or aggressive behavior
  • Poor concentration
  • Isolation
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling overwhelmed (anxiety)
  • Feeling hopelessness (depression)

Maintaining Positive Mental Health:

  • Good time management skills
  • Keeping track of mental health concerns
  • Utilizing mental health services (WKU Counseling)
  • Staying connected with friends
  • Surround yourself with people who hold your values
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Being involved in community groups/activities
  • Developing coping skills for stress
  • Avoiding drug and alcohol use

 

The mental health of first-year college students was heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic:
  • The prevalence of moderate-severe anxiety increased from 18.1% before the pandemic to 25.3% within four months after the pandemic began.
  • White, female and sexual/gender minority (SGM) students were at highest risk of increases in anxiety symptoms.
  • The prevalence of moderate-severe depression increased from 21.5% to 31.7%.
  • Non-Hispanic Black, female, and SGM students were at highest risk of increases in depression symptoms.
  • General difficulties associated with distanced learning and social isolation contributed to the increases in both depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Work reductions as well as Covid-19 diagnosis and being hospitalized, family members or friends were not associated with increases in depression or anxiety symptoms.
Click HERE for the research study or look below for other trends!

As college students, we know it's not easy managing our mental health as we learn to balance school, work on and off campus, family, friends, physical health, and so much more.

Here are some tips from WKU and the National Institute of Mental Health on where to start:

  1. Walk for 30 minutes a day
  2. Balance out your diet
  3. Drink water
  4. Create a sleep schedule
  5. Reduce blue light exposure from your phone and/or laptop
  6. Relax with our wellness programs
  7. Practice gratitude
  8. Set goals and priorities
  9. Stay connected with friends and family

Or, you can watch this video!

Managing Your College Life

Some WKU students face mental health issues beyond the scope of practice provided by the university. We can define this as a "mental break" or "psychosis".

To fully understand, here are some questions answered directly from LifeSkills Inc. Staff:

  1. "What is 'Psychosis'?"
    • Psychosis is like other diagnoses. It can start with signs and symptoms, and when not addressed, these can lead to difficulty. When experiencing psychosis, someone may say they have had extraordinary experiences that may cause confusion or distress. While this can appear differently in many, common experiences include feeling as if you are being followed, hearing and seeing what others cannot, or having a special ability. This typically occurs in episodes. However, when we can identify someone who is at Clinical High Risk, we can help to alleviate any distressful experiences. 
  2. "How does iHOPE know I qualify for their program?"
    • Our therapists are trained to do very specific assessments for this purpose. After the assessments, you and your therapists will discuss whether or not you meet the admission criteria.
  3. What about receiving help while I am being assessed? What happens if I do not qualify?
    • While you are being assessed by iHOPE therapists, you can still visit your regular therapist where ever they are. This includes the WKU Counseling Center.
    • If you do not meet admission criteria, we help provide a 'warm handoff' to another provider of your choosing. This could mean that we refer you back to the counseling center, or help you seek services with LifeSkills. If you do not want to seek any services, we can help with that also.
  4. Do I need insurance for the iHOPE program?
    • No, we can still provide services for you.
  5. Is my information confidential?
    • We do not speak to anyone about what occurs in our sessions. At times, we may need information from staff about you or your situation; but this can only be done after receiving a release of information. However, no one can ask for your information outside of the program.
  6. What about medication?
    • In our program, we have the ability to provide a full team of support for you. This includes a psychiatric provider. However, medication is always your choice. We do have options for medication delivery, also.

 

It is recommended that if you or someone you know is experiencing psychosis to please recommend them to the iHOPE program FIRST! You can talk to the WKU Counseling Center about this.

LifeSkills Contact

About the iHOPE Program

 

STAY UPDATED with Trends in Mental Health after the Pandemic

Colleges Address Worrying Mental Health Trends

Changing Campus Cultures to Support Mental Health

Covid-19 Effects on College Student

 

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 Last Modified 4/19/22