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CAPS, UH Wellness Center highlight importance of mental health this semester

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

The pandemic brought about not only disease, but stressors from job loss to social isolation, and college students aren’t immune.

“Some common issues that I have seen and talked with students about are anxiety about what the future holds for them,” said Reuben Parrish, UH Wellness director.

Parrish said students not only worry about their performance in online classes, but also about how they are going to eat since they don’t have a job.

Students also mentioned they’re having trouble sleeping, and worry about the health of themselves and their loved ones.

“With isolation there can be an increase in depression symptoms like feeling hopeless, increased substance use or feeling that relationships are no longer meaningful,” said Marti Trummer-Cabrera, UH Counseling and Psychological Services assistant outreach director.

Trummer said professionals at CAPS pay attention for circumstances where students live in environments that cause risks or conflicts for the student.

“We know that our environment impacts our mental state,” Trummer said. “Students may need support in creating a new academic environment in their homes to stay motivated in achieving goals this semester.”

CAPS offers online support through their Coogs Conquer series over Zoom. These virtual workshops cover topics such as mindfulness, ways to engage academically and emotionally, racial trauma and anxiety.

Beyond the Zoom workshops, CAPS also holds consultations through their Let’s Talk program available to students, faculty and staff alike for advice and information about formal counseling.

Parrish explained that students can find ways to relieve stress with methods they haven’t explored such as meditation or physical activity. He said that having a socially distant gathering with friends can also help.

The UH Wellness Center offers virtual meditation sessions every Thursday, where students discuss different topics exploring self care and mental health. Another program called Tea Tuesday has students log onto Zoom to discuss various topics while drinking tea every Tuesday afternoon.

“Students can alleviate some of the stress possibly by picking up a new hobby, spending more time with family, and engaging with friends virtually,” said Parrish.

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