Boosting mental health

By By Jaime Winston

By Jaime Winston

In addition to the stress school creates, many U students struggle with depression, substance abuse, low self-esteem, eating disorders or just not feeling mentally well.

The U campus has a one-stop information center where students can seek help for life issues. Formerly known as the Alcohol and Drug Education Center, the Campus Wellness Connection is an affiliate of the Counseling Center located in the Student Services Building Room 328.

The center’s purpose was once to help students struggling with substance abuse. It later found that treating a student’s overall mental health could solve a substance-abuse problem, sometimes even before it starts.

The five main health areas the center focuses on are physical, academic, emotional, spiritual and social health.

“You can’t disconnect these,” said Megan DuBois, prevention coordinator at the center.

The center makes referrals, but also does its own counseling related specifically to drug and alcohol prevention.

Students with drinking problems also can take a Prime for Life class. Some students are required to take this class because they have run into high-risk alcohol problems on campus. One intention of the class is to help students assess some of their habits so they won’t run into future alcohol problems.

Test anxiety is one issue for which the center is prepared to make referrals. Students with children also have unique issues that the center can address.

“I think a very positive thing about our program is it really so easily can fit the individual needs of anyone,” DuBois said. “Our purpose is to understand what (students’) needs are and then connecting them with necessary resources.”

Once in a while, the center will connect a student with services off campus. However, its main focus is the services provided on campus, including offices in the Counseling Center and religious groups that meet on campus.

If someone is struggling physically, the CWC can help with that as well. It offers referrals to many of the different fitness and recreational programs on campus.

Tutoring labs and academic counseling are available for those struggling academically.

“There’s a wealth of information and a lot of statistics nationwide, statewide and here at the U that show us that college students struggle with a lot of health issues,” DuBois said. “A wide range of health issues can impact them academically, and that’s why it’s so vital to have these services.”

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