Q: My son is attending college, and he’s been stressed about the pandemic and other issues. How can he find out about mental health services at his university?
A: Students today are dealing with an entirely different environment than previous generations. The COVID-19 pandemic has made colleges and universities transition to more online learning, and that deprives students of the social interaction that is common in a typical college experience. On top of the isolation caused by the pandemic, the chaos surrounding the national election in addition to the typical stress of their studies can be a lot to handle.
It’s important for students to have access to mental health services in addition to other physical health services. If your student is not sure where to find assistance, a good place to look first would be in his university’s student handbook. Any available services should be outlined in the handbook. He also will likely find information about health services on the university’s website. If he is still having trouble finding someone who can help, officials in the university’s Student Affairs office likely will be able to point him in the right direction.
At the University of Houston-Victoria, students have access to mental health services through the UHV Counseling Center located in UHV University Commons, 3006 N. Ben Wilson St. The center offers a variety of options, including virtual individual, couples or group therapy sessions. In addition, the university has self-help resources available for students who may not be comfortable speaking to a counselor.
For many students, college is the first time they will be living on their own, and that new experience can feel intimidating, especially now. That’s why UHV and many other universities employ a health educator who works to educate the campus community on various elements of mental and physical health and how to take care of themselves, including how to manage stress and anxiety, healthy eating and healthy relationships.
This year has been difficult for us all, so it’s important to let students know that it’s OK to ask for help. Everyone struggles at one time or another. After all of the difficult things our nation and the world have had to face this year, being stressed is understandable. One of the best things you can do for your student is to be supportive and let him know that even though things are difficult now, everything will be OK. Very little about this year is normal, but if we all have some grace for each other, we will be able to get through this and come out stronger in the end.