The disruption caused by COVID-19 has induced anxiety, stress, and depression among many UW-Green Bay students. With changes constantly taking place, UW-Green Bay provides various resources to help minimize the mental health effects.
On October 15, 2020, Corey King, the vice chancellor of Inclusivity and Student Affairs, sent an email informing students and faculty of the new Silver Cloud program. The program was created to assist “in the management and understanding of one’s emotional well-being,” as King stated in the email. Additionally, it is a tool for people who need extra help coping with mild to moderate mental health issues. “The program will help guide and support day-to-day stressors and provide techniques that can help sustain you between counseling appointments,” stated King. This program is free for students and faculty as it is paid for by the University.
College During a Pandemic for Student
Students are challenged by the pandemic and constant stress on top of that. Hedayah Farghali, a junior studying nursing at UW-Green Bay, said, “it’s difficult. I feel like I don’t have enough in-class time with the professor, and having to comprehend online material alone is very hard.” In terms of stresses and solutions, she said, “our labs for classes are down to an hour and once a week instead of three hours; we don’t get to go practice or study hands-on in labs because of COVID-19, which makes material ten times harder. I think if we had more time to learn the material or had bigger labs to maintain social distancing in, then we’d be able to take our time instead of looking at the clock feeling rushed. Hedayah later said, “she has a hard time sleeping at night and being able to focus because she feels isolated from reality.”
Advice from a Professional
Lissa Balison, the Senior Counselor at UW-Green Bay, was so kind as to provide insight on mental health and other resources available. Lissa said, “there is so much unknown and changing in the world that focusing on the here and now and what we can control is the best way to feel less overwhelmed. I have also encouraged people to spend time reminding themselves what they are thankful/grateful for in their lives that often helps us keep things in perspective and focus on positive things, not only the struggles. Lastly, a great way to make the two suggestions is via daily Mindfulness and Meditation practice.”
According to the Washington Post, more Americans are dealing with the mental health effects of spending more time indoors, away from loved ones, and in many cases, unemployed. A study done by undergraduate students at Dartmouth College used smartphone data to self-report mental health distress symptoms. Forbes says, “the study conducted by undergraduate students both before and amidst the Covid-19 outbreak. Their findings indicated that college students were significantly more anxious and depressed during the pandemic.”
When concluding the last remarks with Lissa, she said, “anyone who needs or wants to talk with a counselor’s on staff about any concern nothing is too big or too small.” She goes on to say, “the counseling side of the Wellness Center is fully virtual right now (video via Microsoft Teams) and open Monday-Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm. We also have two appointments slots we keep open in case of urgent need Monday-Friday at 1 and 2 pm for urgent appointments (these are also virtual).”
Everyone is coping with this pandemic, some better than others, but college can become more stressful if you aren’t willing to get that extra help. As an enrolled student, there are no fees for meeting with the counselors, and sessions are confidential. The Silver Cloud program is available all day, every day, so use as you please. Take advantage of these resources; there is no shame in reaching out!
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