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Health & Wellness Services Division of Student Affairs

Providers trained on care for LGBTQ patients

We’re dedicated to providing the best possible medical care for WSU students of all genders and sexual orientations. After meeting with students from the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center last fall and hearing their concerns, we’ve vigorously pursued new training and resources to better serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) students.

 

The students we spoke with identified unmet needs, including training for our staff on common issues and concerns for members of the LGBTQ community. In particular, transgender students in attendance talked about their struggle to receive gender-affirming hormone treatment locally and the importance of being able to access treatment on campus.

 

Since then, our primary care, counseling, and pharmacy staff have taken steps to improve our care for LGBTQ patients. Earlier this month, two of our health care providers attended a symposium on providing more effective, culturally sensitive care to LGBTQ patients.

 

For providers, the symposium including taking an inclusive LGBTQ health history, guidelines for primary care treatment for LGBTQ patients, and information regarding gender affirming hormone treatment. For all staff, the symposium reviewed the need for gender affirming care as well as cultural competency.

 

We plan to begin offering hormone treatment for transgender students in fall 2017. We will continue engaging with LGBTQ students and working together to address their needs going forward.

Pilot stress program helps over 150 Cougs

Pilot stress program helps over 150 Cougs

We’re helping over 150 Cougs lower their stress with our interactive pilot text message program. Every week we check in with students to see how they’re doing, then send them personalized tips for relieving stress.

 

According to National College Health Assessment data over the years, WSU students consistently report stress as the most common health-related factor affecting their academic performance. In 2016, 51.6 percent of Cougs said they experienced more than average stress in the past 12 months.

 

We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the stress management texting program, and we’re eager to offer it to students again next year.

 

Moving forward, we want to collaborate with campus partners to increase the number of activities and resources to help Cougs lower their stress. And we’re exploring the possibility of creating a similar program just for graduate students.

 

We were able to provide the pilot stress management program with support from student technology fees and student activity fees.

Supporting health in the Greek community

Following their recent student-led moratorium, Greek leaders reached out to Health & Wellness Services staff for support and resources. Together we’re developing action plans tailored to each individual chapter to address public health concerns like violence, substance abuse, and mental health.

 

We worked with student leaders from individual chapters to survey their members and assess their attitudes and concerns around these issues. Over 2,900 Greek students responded to our survey on violence, and our survey on substance abuse is in progress.

 

After the surveys, our next step is to meet with each chapter to review their specific results and provide some initial educational information. So far, we’ve met with 39 chapters about violence prevention and continue to meet about substance abuse and mental health.

 

Why these specific topics? Research shows alcohol use, drug use, and mental health concerns can negatively affect college students’ academic performance in a variety of ways.

 

The surveys we conducted this semester show many Greek students are drinking to cope with stress. And according to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 13.4 percent of Greek students experience academic difficulties due to alcohol.

 

Moving forward, we will provide each chapter leader with reports on survey results and suggestions for how they can promote healthy behaviors in their chapter.

Take advantage of your vision benefits

Take advantage of your vision benefits

Start your summer with the perfect pair of glasses or sunglasses! Do you wear contacts? We have those too!

 

Right now is the perfect time for graduate and international students to take advantage of their vision benefits through WSU student insurance. Our vision clinic is open all summer long and ready to help you!

 

Your $200 hardware benefit can go towards glasses, prescription sunglasses, or contact lenses. We even have a Cougar Package that includes selected frames, single vision polycarbonate lenses, and an anti-reflective coating for $200.

 

If you don’t have a vision prescription, it’s still important to visit your eye doctor every one to two years.

 

Have any questions about your insurance benefit? Please feel free to contact us. To book your appointment, call or schedule online through our Patient Portal.

Take action to prevent violence

group of students

 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and WSU students are ready to take action to prevent violence!

 

According to 2016 climate assessment data, 67 percent of WSU students feel confident in their ability to take action to reduce interpersonal violence. When asked why they would take action, 78 percent said they feel it’s their responsibility to make people in their community safer.

 

We’re clearly committed to helping one another! But it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to taking concrete action. What can we do to help? How can we make a real difference?

 

At Health & Wellness Services, we believe that every single one of us can help make our community safer. One person can’t do everything, but we can all do something. Here are some simple ways you can get involved in addressing violence in our community this month (and throughout the rest of the year!)

 

  1. Read our blog post about how you can support survivors of sexual assault.
  2. Make sure you know WSU’s Executive Policy #15 prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct.
  3. Get familiar with the confidential and university resources
  4. Request a resource poster or print a message of support to hang in your hall, classroom, or Greek residence.
  5. Add Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse’s 24- hour emergency and support service phone number for survivors of family and sexual violence to your contacts: 1-877-334-2887.
  6. Visit the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs for tools and materials you can personalize and use for social media and events. Materials are available in four different languages!
  7. Check out #SAAM on your social media of choice to find info and resources you can share with friends and family.
  8. Follow Coug Health and Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse on Facebook for more info on violence prevention efforts in our community.
  9. Attend a Green Dot bystander training and learn how to safely intervene in a potentially dangerous situation and prevent violence from happening.
  10. Sign up for updates on violence prevention and other health news and resources.

These are just a few ways each of us can take action, and get connected to helpful resources in our community. If we work together, we can put an end to violence and make our campus a safer place.

 

This post, originally published in April 2016, has been updated with new resources and information.

Cougs support survivors of violence

two students talking

 

Here at WSU, Cougs help Cougs. Our community cares deeply about supporting and encouraging one another in all areas of our lives. This way of thinking is especially important when it comes to supporting survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. How we respond to survivors can have a huge impact on how they feel about their experience and what actions they take as they heal.

 

When someone tells you about their experience, it can be incredibly tough to know what to say and do. If you find yourself in that situation, remember what matters most: listen, believe, and support.

 

Listen. The most important thing you can do is listen without judgment. Even asking too many detailed questions can feel critical. Let the survivor tell their story at their own pace, with the details they feel comfortable providing. For some survivors, sharing their story is an important part of healing. Listening non-judgmentally and offering empathy will help them to feel safe and cared for.

 

Believe. People rarely make up stories of violence. Believe the survivor. If they say they were hurt, then they were. Assure your friend that it’s not their fault, no matter what happened, and that you believe and want to support them.

 

Support. Survivors can experience a range of emotions that are all normal. Encourage your friend to access support services, but let them decide if and when they want to use the resources you offer. You can find a comprehensive list of confidential and university resources from the Office of Equal Opportunity. If you’re able to and feel comfortable, you can offer to go with them. Everyone responds differently, and survivors’ needs may change over time. Check in with your friend occasionally and offer support again.

 

These conversations can be incredibly difficult and emotional. After talking with a friend about their experience with violence, you may want to consider seeking resources or support for yourself as well.

 

Supporting survivors is just one way Cougs take action against sexual assault and interpersonal violence in our community. Check out this list of simple steps you can take to help prevent violence and make our campus a safer place.

 

Do you want more information on how to make our campus safer? Sign up to receive news and resources for preventing violence in our community.

 

This post, originally published in April 2016, has been updated with new resources and information.

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.