Leave bad vibes out in the cold this winter

Mental health can be a hot topic for college students during the cold winter months. The sun sets very early, and the darkness enveloping the campus suggests to many a seasonal depression, and that doesn’t include the lack of sleep and the abundance of coursework.

Fortunately for them, there are ways on campus they can help address this.

MSU psychologist Kimberly Somers believes keeping up with mental and physical health is essential for college students.

“Staying healthy and taking care of your mental and physical health throughout the school year is directly related to academic achievement. When someone is out of balance with their sleep, eating, and movement, it leads to more stress and poorer performance,” said Somers. That we don’t eat much, that we don’t eat much, that we don’t sleep much, that we don’t eat much, that we don’t move too much, and that we don’t move too little.”

Although it can seem like an uphill battle at times to stay mentally healthy, there are easy ways to prevent it from getting worse.

“It’s important to find balance and regularly check in with yourself that you’re getting what you need in terms of sleep, eating, movement, social time, study time, downtime, etc,” Somers said. “It can be helpful to set up a schedule, or even set and share goals with a friend who can be part of your support system and accountability partner when you need to get back on track.”

There are ways on campus for students to get more information about their mental health. One is the Counseling Center located in the Centennial Student Union, Room 285.

“The Counseling Center offers individual and group counseling, counseling, screening, outreach, workshops, and online resources to address various mental health concerns,” Somers said. “We can meet with any student enrolled at MSU, Mankato and help connect them with the resources and support they may need. To start at the Counseling Center, we ask students to come to our office during our screening times to meet with one of our providers that same day to schedule a screening appointment.”

The screening process may seem daunting to a newcomer, but it boils down to a short interview with a specialist, according to Somers.

The scan appointment takes about 20 minutes and is focused on understanding what the student might need and how best we can help meet that need. Sometimes that means referring someone for individual counseling or referring them to a workshop,” Somers said. “Sometimes it’s best to help someone by making a referral to another office on campus or a community mental health resource.”

The Counseling Center also organizes events throughout the year for students to go to and learn more about their health.

“This spring, we will have awareness programs on different aspects of mental health. In January, we will have a week dedicated to providing students with information about depression and coping with the winter blues,” Somers said. “In February, we will focus on relationships and provide information about healthy relationships and dealing with difficulties in relationships.”

For more information, go to the MSU website and click on the Counseling Center tab.

Banner photo: The Counseling Center, located in the Centennial Student Union, is open five days a week, offering help and therapy to students burdened with the daily stresses of college life. (Dylan Engel/Reporter)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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