UW offers a wide variety of free student mental health resources The Badger Herald


College students grapple with increased rates of mental health problems during the pandemic, according to a recent study by the American College Health Association.

Students reported increased psychological stress and loneliness, and 1 in 4 had considered suicide, according to the study.

Another recent study by BMC Psychology confirmed this trend, adding that the pandemic has worsened mental health by straining family relationships, increasing health anxiety and affecting students’ ability to do well in school.

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Students at the University of Wisconsin are no exception to these trends, said UW professor Dr. Richard Davidson, who has a joint position in the departments of psychology and psychiatry.

The uncertainty of the pandemic, coupled with reduced social contact and interaction with peers during the lockdown, led students to feel more anxious and depressed than before, Davidson said.

“For students in particular, the challenges have been particularly acute as a fundamental aspect of university life is community, and there have been dramatic disruptions in the ability to form community during COVID,” Davidson said. .

With high vaccination rates and a robust COVID-19 protocol, UW was able to offer more in-person opportunities to students during the 2021-22 school year, according to the UW COVID-19 Response website. .

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It could allow for a greater sense of community, but after the lockdown, many students are struggling to transition from online education to in-person education this semester, Davidson said. For many UW students, the return to in-person activities has been stressful and overwhelming, contributing to high rates of mental health issues, according to Davidson.

To fight against these problems, University health services provide mental health resources to students, according to the UHS website.

“UHS is awesome,” said a sophomore UW student who chose to remain anonymous.

They started meeting with their psychiatric service provider in the middle of their first semester at UW and have continued to meet with the same provider since then, enjoying the relationship they have formed.

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UHS offers individual counseling, group counseling, psychiatric care, 24-hour crisis lines, and specific services for marginalized groups like gay students and students of color. These services are confidential and free or at low cost for UW students, which is crucial for many students, the second said.

“It’s great that there is no cost for the services,” they said. “I am already under financial stress and I don’t want to have to be under more stress for a service that I need. “

In addition to the services provided by UHS, many UW student organizations are dedicated to supporting students with mental health issues, according to the Wisconsin Participation Network.

Ask, Listen, Record. is one such student organization, which runs mental health awareness programs and provides suicide prevention resources to students on the UW campus, according to the organization’s website. In addition, the group places great importance on equality and strives to connect students from marginalized communities to resources specific to their needs.

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“If there are any gaps in the resources we provide, we are more than willing to fill them and we will work with students to find the resources that are best for them,” Ask.Listen.Save said in a comment. e-mail declaration to The Badger. Herald.

To complement the mental health resources on the UW campus, Davidson suggested taking advantage of the variety of online resources students have available to them.

For example, UHS offers Silvercloud, a self-guided mental health app designed to help students develop cognitive-behavioral skills, according to UHS website.

Likewise, Davidson encourages students to download his Application of the Healthy Minds program, which he helped to develop. The app offers quick podcast-style lessons, as well as interactive ways to practice mental wellness skills, according to the app’s website.

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“Even five minutes makes a big difference, whether walking, commuting or exercising,” Davidson said.

While the pandemic has increased the prevalence of mental health problems among college students, there is a silver lining – it has also facilitated open conversations about mental health, Ask.Listen.Save said.

By having such conversations, people can become more mindful of their mental well-being and more confident to seek help when they need it, Ask.Listen.Save said.

Gradually, the stigma surrounding mental health is fading, both on the UW campus and around the world, Davidson said.

But there is still work to be done in this regard, Davidson said. As winter approaches and the pandemic continues, it’s important to keep in mind that no one is alone in the struggle with mental health, he said.

“If we’re all honest with ourselves, we all suffer,” Davidson said. “Some people more than others, but we all suffer. But when we can have this self-transcending goal, it is an elixir of well-being.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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