Lauren Emerson

Lauren Emerson

Q: I heard that UHV is hosting a community health initiative. Is there still time to sign up to participate in the program?

A: Yes, the University of Houston-Victoria is hosting two community health programs, both of which are funded by grant funds from Healthy Kids, Healthy Families, which is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas’ signature community investments program. They are both free and open to residents of Victoria and other Crossroads communities.

The newest program is Getting Better, Together. This is a virtual program that focuses on common mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression. The program has space for 200 participants.

One of the reasons UHV is offering this program is because of how the pandemic has impacted mental health in people nationwide. People have reported feelings of anxiety and stress in relation to the fear of contracting COVID-19 in addition to isolation, loneliness and depression from the long lockdown and stay-at-home periods. The Getting Better, Together program is aimed to help people who may be experiencing those feelings find ways to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress so they can find more effective ways to manage it.

Participants will attend biweekly virtual sessions. The first session will include surveys about participants’ mental health. Throughout the yearlong program, participants will attend sessions focused on improving mental health. These sessions will include learning about stress management and engaging in group therapy sessions.

In addition to the focus on mental health, the program will encourage participants to improve their physical health through a variety of resources. Participants will be asked to track their nutrition and physical activity. A custom nutrition and physical activity plan will be created for participants, and participants will be given a free Fitbit.

To learn more about the Getting Better, Together program or to sign up to participate, contact Brent Lang, UHV assistant professor of psychology, at 361-570-4283 or bettertogether@uhv.edu.

Another community health program that the university is continuing from previous years is a kidney disease prevention program by the Victoria Alliance Against Chronic Kidney Disease. The program examines risk factors for chronic kidney disease including high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. This program also is funded by the grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

The kidney disease program will offer services similar to the mental health program, including a custom nutrition and physical activity plan. Participants also will receive regular health screenings to help monitor their risk factors including blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

To sign up for the kidney disease program, contact Michael Wiblishauser at 361-570-4178 or wiblishauserm@uhv.edu.

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Do you have a question about the University of Houston-Victoria? Contact Lauren Emerson, UHV communications specialist, at 361-570-4342 or emersonl@uhv.edu.

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