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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Accessible mental health resources for college students

Mental health is a growing concern for college students across the country but many are not getting the help they need and deserve. Surveyed college students reported that “50% of students rated their mental health below average or poor” with 40 percent of them failing to seek help. 

Whether it be because of stigma or cost, students are suffering from mental health issues at an alarming rate. There are, however, free and helpful options for students on campus and online that can help combat mental illness.

SilverCloud: Available resources for UW students

There are quite a few campus-based options available for those dealing with mental health issues, with a few available online through MyUW and others are available on campus through University Health Services. 

SilverCloud is an online program available on through a MyUW widget and is free for campus students, where they can use their Wisconsin ID to sign into the SilverCloud account and follow the guided prompts to get a baseline account of your personal mental health state. 

SilverCloud then offers a program specific to your personal needs. One plan offers stress management tactics and various articles to help you understand and cope with your stress effectively. Since this is a free service offered through campus, students do not have to worry about paying for external apps or therapy if they do not want to do so. 

UHS Resources 

Many on-campus options and mental health services are offered by University Health Services. Services offered by UHS include: 24-Hour Crisis Center, couple/partner counseling, disorder eating assessment and treatment, group and individual counseling, outreach mental health services, survivor services and trans health services. 

The 24-Hour Crisis Center lists available locations for immediate mental health assistance including: UW Hospital, Meriter Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital. Couple/partner counseling provides a private, non-judgmental setting to explore both healthy and challenging patterns of connecting. 

“But what if I’m long distance?” You don’t need to worry about avoiding couple/partner counseling if you or your partner are not a UW student. One great aspect of this UHS service is that only one person in the couple is required to be a current student on campus. 

Examples of what may be discussed during a session of couple/partner counseling include: navigating relationship challenges (long-distance, a break of trust, etc.), improving communication and exploring problem-solving as a couple and as an individual within a relationship. 

Eating disorder treatments available

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Another key feature of UHS mental health services includes disorder eating assessment and treatment. Many college students may be battling an eating disorder and not even be fully aware of it. There is a two-session process that explores behavior, thoughts and emotions related to past and current eating behaviors and body image. 

University Health Services also offers group and individual counseling that promote positive discussion about mental health struggles and ways of improving mental health. 

Group counseling provides a student with a group of supportive individuals that are going through a similar situation and promotes a safe environment for an emotionally vulnerable conversation to take place. If the prospect of a group is intimidating, UHS also offers individual counseling sessions that last roughly an hour and fosters an encouraging discussion between the counselor and the student.  

Bringing the counseling to you

If in-person counseling sessions are not the thing for you, there are also mental health apps available on most smartphones for little to no cost to you. 

One app that is growing in popularity is Youper. Youper is free to download on Apple, Android and Google and is an emotional health assistant. Youper offers a personality test and provides a personalized approach to your mental health. It also offers an AI assistant that helps guide the user through their day: choosing a single emotion from a list, pinpointing specific factors that are influencers of the users’ mood and offering guided meditations to help recenter the user and clear their mind. 

One great feature of this app is the monthly tests offered. Users can take short assessments to see where they “score” on a scale that measures your emotional state. The app was created by a psychiatrist who was frustrated to hear that people were putting off their mental health needs because finding the right therapist or treatment was too intimidating or expensive and wasn’t deemed worth it.  

Put your mental health first! 

Mental health is incredibly important, especially on a college campus. There are options for those struggling with mental health that are available both on-campus and online. Taking advantage of campus resources and those available online can give students access to achieving a better state of mind without additional cost and stress.

Need help for you or a friend but don’t know where to start? Here are some numbers to wonderful places on campus that are sure to help:

Mental Health Crisis Line Dane County: 608-280-2600

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

National Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

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