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Health & Wellness Services Division of Student Affairs

Get involved in student health

Get involved in student health

Want to advocate for student health concerns, influence decisions around health services and initiatives, and gain valuable working knowledge of management and leadership? Then join our Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC)!

 

SHAC works to improve Health & Wellness Services and Counseling and Psychological Services by acting as an advisory group to the executive director and serving as a liaison among students, student government, and administrators.

 

SHAC will review programs and services, recommend new programs, and advise on financial matters. Students on SHAC also work closely with our staff to provide insightful feedback on services and initiates related to mental, physical, and emotional health.

 

By joining SHAC you’ll:

  • Have opportunities to network with professionals in the health industry
  • Bolster your resume with real experience in health care
  • Gain essential communication and leadership skills

We’re looking for exceptional student leaders to get involved in SHAC. If you’re interested, contact Taylor Schwab at Taylor.Schwab@wsu.edu or 509-335-0106.

Campus representatives review mental health policies

Campus representatives review mental health policies

Thirty members of the Campus Mental Health Collaborative, including students, staff, and faculty, met last month with an expert from The JED Foundation to begin developing a comprehensive plan for suicide prevention and mental health promotion for WSU Pullman students.

 

The JED Foundation representative opened the meeting with the foundational recommendation that supporting students’ emotional well-being needs to be a campus-wide effort. From high-level administrators to part-time employees, we can all play critical roles in suicide prevention and mental health promotion efforts. Specifically, we need to support efforts that allow for early detection and effective intervention when a student is struggling.

 

In fall, members of the collaborative completed a self-assessment of relevant policies and programs. The JED Foundation representative spent the bulk of the three-hour meeting last month reviewing the WSU self-assessment and providing feedback in the nine key areas outlined below, as described in the JED model of suicide prevention:

 

Campus policies. Policies help establish norms, build awareness, and improve the quality of health services available to students.

 

Life skills development. Developing strong life skills helps students cope with stress. Some critical areas include managing friendships and relationships, problem solving, decision-making, identifying and managing emotions, healthy living, and understanding identity.

 

Connectedness. Research shows loneliness and isolation are significant risk factors for mental health problems and/or suicidal behavior. Students who feel connected to campus and have support from friends and family are better equipped to handle the stresses of college life.

 

Academic performance. Mental health is closely tied to academic performance, and the impact goes both ways. Stress from school can affect students’ mental health, and mental health issues can affect academic performance.

 

Student wellness. It’s important for students to understand how overall wellness, mental health, and academic performance are interrelated.

 

Identify students at risk. Studies show many college students who need help do not seek it out on their own.

 

Increase help-seeking behavior. Students are often unaware of the mental health resources available to them, feel unsure about insurance coverage and costs, or face some other barrier to seeking help.

 

Provide mental health and substance use disorder services. Offering high-quality mental health services is critical for preventing substance abuse among students and improving academic success.

 

Means restriction and environmental safety. Removing or limiting means to self-harm can help prevent suicide and improve student safety.

 

As a next step, the collaborative will identify priority action areas. Subscribe to our mailing list for updates.

Get personalized stress management tips

Get personalized stress management tips

Feeling stressed, need help coping, or just want personalized stress management techniques? We can help! This semester we’re launching a new text messaging program to help you relieve your stress.

 

We will:

  • Check in with you every other week to see how you’re doing
  • Send you weekly tips for lowering stress, customized to your individual stress level
  • Enter you to win a free Ferdinand’s ice cream grabber whenever you do a check in

To sign up, text “STRESS” to 30644. Text messages will start March 1, but you can join at any point in the semester.

 

For any questions about this program or our stress management workshops, give us a call at 509-335-WELL.

Developing a comprehensive plan for suicide prevention

Developing a comprehensive plan  for suicide prevention

This week our Campus Mental Health Collaborative will meet with an expert from The JED Foundation to develop a strategic plan for suicide prevention tailored to our university’s needs. Our work with JED, a national nonprofit working to promote emotional health among college students, is part of our ongoing mental health promotion efforts.

 

At the meeting, members of the Campus Mental Health Collaborative will review JED’s feedback on gaps and successes in student mental health support at WSU, brainstorm new ideas and resources, outline and prioritize goals, and develop a written strategic plan for improving mental health promotion on campus.

 

In preparation for the meeting, we conducted an initial review of our resources, policies, and programs. The review covered nine critical areas identified in the JED Campus Framework, which combines the content of a comprehensive model for suicide prevention with expert recommendations on factors related to preventing substance abuse in young people.

 

Our work with JED is part of the organization’s Campus Program, a nationwide initiative providing colleges and universities with tools and support to promote students’ emotional well-being. Through the program, WSU will receive customized support for developing programs and policies that build on existing student mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention efforts.

 

To stay connected with mental and emotional health promotion efforts at WSU, make sure you’ve subscribed to our mailing list.

Identifying abusive relationships

Identifying abusive relationships

We’re often in a good position to spot abusive behaviors in our friends’ relationships. But some of the signs of unhealthy relationships can look a lot like normal couple interactions. How can you tell the difference?

 

It can be hard to know for sure whether someone else is in a healthy relationship, but having a foundational understanding of abusive behaviors will help you notice potential warning signs and take action to help your friend if they need it.

 

First, let’s look at some examples of what normal couples experience.

 

Jealousy. It’s totally normal to feel a little upset it we see someone else flirting with our partner.

 

Conflict. It’s true – every relationship has conflict. We all have different perspectives and life experiences, and sometimes we clash.

 

Spending less time with friends. This is especially common early on in a relationship when you want to spend every waking minute together.

 

While these are often normal behaviors in a relationship, at what point might they be signs of abuse? Take a closer look. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

 

  • Do those feelings of jealousy pass after both people talk about how they’re feeling? Or do they lead one person to act possessive and controlling over their partner?
  • When conflict arises, do both people have an equal say, and do they both feel comfortable expressing how they truly feel? Or does one person hold back their feelings for fear of upsetting their partner?
  • Do both partners seem happy when they see each other? Do they both light up when they get millions of texts from their partner, or do they get frustrated, or even scared, when they get these messages?
  • Are partners spending all of their time together because they both want to? Or because one person demands it of the other?

Close friends are often in the best position to spot abusive behaviors in someone else’s relationship. The key is to pay attention and if you see or hear something that makes you uncomfortable – it’s time to check in. Start by just asking your friend, “How are things going in your relationship?”

 

Try and put yourself in your friend’s position. You would probably want someone to step in, offer support, and help you identify potential resources and options. You can be that person for your friend.

 

Everyone can do something to make our campus a safer place! To learn more about how you can help, sign up for a bystander training.

Providers trained to identify suicide risk

Providers trained to identify suicide risk

Healthcare providers play a critical role in identifying and evaluating suicide risk. The Washington State Department of Health requires certain providers to complete suicide prevention training.

 

Oftentimes, providers have varying levels of experience with suicide prevention. Training providers in the same suicide prevention best practices ensures all our providers are on the same-page when it comes to suicide prevention.

 

This month, 35 of our healthcare providers completed the Suicide and Crisis Intervention training offered by the Crisis Clinic, a Seattle-based organization offering emotional support to individuals in crisis or considering suicide.

 

Our providers work closely with students and are often in a position to detect suicide risk. During training, our providers learned how to asses and treat students and at-risk populations, such a veterans, for suicide. They were also trained how to evaluate an individual’s risk of immediate self-harm. The training our providers took is included on the Washington State Department of Health Model List of suicide prevention trainings.

 

Last fall, providers from Counseling and Psychological Services, completed the Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk (AMSR) training provided by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

 

AMSR is designed specifically for healthcare providers. It unpacks the five most common dilemmas providers face when working with someone who may be at risk for suicide, and presents best practices for addressing them.

 

Activities like suicide prevention training are part of a broader effort to prevent suicide of WSU students. Our Campus Mental Health Collaborative group is working to ensure the WSU community to up-to-date on best practices for supporting students’ mental health.

 

If you’d like to receive updates on the Campus Mental Health Collaborative, as well as other information about news and events related to mental and emotional health at WSU, make sure you subscribe to our mailing list.

Get tools to help prevent violence

This semester, we’ll be posting regularly about the role you play in keeping our campus safe. Sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking impact members of our community every day, just like on other campuses across the country.

 

Right now, many of us look the other way when violence happens. We might not know how to help, or we might feel like it’s not our responsibility to intervene. But deciding to stay neutral is really a decision to do nothing, and ignoring a potentially dangerous situation allows the violence to continue.

 

By working together, we can take steps to bring the rates of violence down. It’s simple: when more Cougs take action, less violence happens.

 

Here’s what you can do right now:

Our posts this semester will focus on giving you the tools you need to stop violence before it happens. Stay tuned to learn about concrete steps you can take to help keep our community safe!

3 tips for bringing your goals to life

3 tips for bringing your goals to life

It’s a new semester, a new year, and for many of us that means new goals. Whether you’re setting academic, fitness, or personal development goals, we all need a little help with the follow through. Try using some of our expert tips for creating and achieving your goals.

 

Set SMART goals.

We often think of goals as a result we want to achieve. For example, getting an A or fitting into a swimsuit. These are outcome goals. Reaching outcome goals is easier when they are specific, measurable, action-oriented (or attainable), realistic, and time-specific. You can check out Cougar Success for details on setting SMART goals.

 

An important part of creating SMART goals is identifying smaller actionable steps to get you there. Process goals are the actions and habits that will help you achieve your desired outcome.

 
For example, your SMART outcome goal might be to lose 1 pound per week and 20 pounds by July. For this outcome, your process goals could be to go the gym twice a week, pack lunches instead of eating out at the CUB, and weigh yourself to track your progress.

 
Anticipate barriers.

Try visualizing a time during the semester you think meeting your goals will be difficult. Imagine it’s the middle of the semester, you’re overworked and tired, and you really don’t feel like going to the gym. Or maybe you didn’t have time to buy healthy groceries. What are you going to do?

 

Anticipating these kinds of barriers can help you stick to your goal. On days you don’t feel like going to the gym, you might plan to call a friend for support or YouTube a workout at home (pro tip: Fitness Blender has free workouts online for all skill levels). And while you planned to not eat out at the CUB, life happens and you need to eat lunch. So, instead of choosing pizza, you could buy a salad.

 

Review your goals.

Check in regularly to review your progress toward your goals. Which steps have you completed? Which ones do you need to revise? If there’s a goal you haven’t met, don’t sweat it. Rework some of your process goals to be more achievable for the next month.

 

It’s important to remember that we’re all human and sometimes we don’t meet our goals perfectly. The key to success is making the best choice you can with what you have in your current situation.

 

If you want help setting and achieving goals, there are lots of resources available to you on campus.  Visit an advisor at the Academic Success and Career Center, take a class or talk to a personal trainer at UREC, or talk to your doctor or nutritionist at HWS. You can also follow Coug Health on Facebook to get reminders about achieving a healthy, balanced life.

TOM FORD eyewear sale Feb. 15

TOM FORD eyewear sale Feb. 15

Looking to up your frame game this spring? Good news: TOM FORD eyewear is coming to campus! Join our vision clinic for a special sale event just for WSU students.

 

TOM FORD eyewear sale event

Wednesday, February 15

CUE Atrium

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

 

Get a 25 percent discount on glasses and sunglasses, and enter to win a free pair of frames! We’ll have over 200 styles of TOM FORD eyewear available to try on and purchase.

 

For any questions about the sale event or our vision care services, give us a call at 509-335-0360.

6 tips for performing your best during finals

6 tips for performing your best during finals

 

It’s finals week, and a lot of Cougs are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with all they have to do. To overcome test anxiety and perform your best this week, try some of these tips for studying effectively and staying well during finals.

 

1. Take short breaks. One study method you may find effective is the Pomodoro Technique, where you focus on a task for 25 minutes, and then take a five minute break. These short breaks give your mind a much-needed rest, and give you a chance to hydrate, get a snack or check your social media feeds.

 

2. Break up big tasks. Breaking up a big task into smaller steps can help it feel manageable and make it easier to get started. For example, if you need to write a paper you could break it down like this: find research articles, take notes, write paper outline, include citations, write introduction, etc. If you’re struggling to get started on a big project, make it your first task simply to open a new file and create a title page.

 

3. Set specific study goals and deadlines. Once you’ve broken your big tasks down into manageable chunks, set deadlines or schedule time for each step. Instead of just writing “study for chem final” in your planner, try setting a specific goal like make flash cards, review lecture slides, rewrite class notes, meet with study group or complete practice test. Planning study sessions with specific goals will help you study smarter.
  

4. Eat that frog. Let’s imagine you have to eat a frog today. Because eating a frog sounds awful, you keep putting it off. But once you eat the frog and get it out of the way, the rest of your day will be easy by comparison.
 
What’s the most difficult and stressful task on your to-do list? Try tackling that task first – eating the frog – to give yourself a sense of accomplishment and help you feel ready to take on everything else.

 

5. Take care of yourself. Having a healthy body and mind can help you succeed during finals week. This means eating before you take a test, staying hydrated, scheduling some self-care activities and getting enough sleep.

 

6. Be aware of what you’re telling yourself. Try not to get angry if you get off track with your study plan or procrastinate. Getting mad at yourself only increases your stress levels, and it can create a cycle of procrastination, anger and more procrastination. The key is to practice self-compassion.

 

Follow us on Facebook to get more helpful tips on staying well during finals.