University Health Services (UHS) Associate Psychologist Dr. Corey Steele hosted a REDtalk on student mental health and wellness during the current semester as part of Wisconsin Alumni Association’s homecoming 2020 festivities.
The talk began with Steele’s discussion of the challenges that college students face in their complex lives, involving new responsibilities, relationships and educational endeavors, and trends showing a rise in the number of students seeking mental health services. Steele, a member of the UHS faculty since 2018, also discussed his passion for working with students in the transitioning period of college and his focus on helping students of color.
“For a number of years now, university and college mental health facilities across the country have been exploring ways to meet the growing demand for mental health services, and this demand is perhaps greater than ever as we think about current national and global circumstances that are perhaps bringing about even more distress in the lives of many,” he said.
In the midst of a global pandemic, social and political activism and a presidential election, Steele noted the extra pressures that college students are facing in 2020.
“Students are concerned about leadership going forward, they’re concerned about our society, they’re concerned about their individual well being and what will be the ramifications of this really important election,” Steele said.
Steele suggested numerous support and self-care initiatives that students can take to support healthy coping including establishing a routine and practicing self-compassion, including giving yourself time to adjust to changes and promoting positive self-talk. He also discussed the benefits of regular physical activity and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule including 7-9 hours of restful sleep.
“Support is something that I bring up with every student that I work with,” Steele said. “Support can bring about positive affirmation, validation of experiences, connection. Support can let people know that they’re seen and loved and valued.”
UHS offers virtual individual or group counseling, psychiatry services, stress management and 24-hour crisis services which students can access on their website. The next homecoming event is the Family-Friendly Scavenger Hunt with Bucky this afternoon from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.