College is a time of growth, learning, and new experiences that can sometimes become overwhelming. Students at the University of Missouri who have experienced stress or have noticed a decline in their mental health have a variety of tools and resources at their disposal. The first step in the process is recognizing when too many stressors have accumulated.
Christy Hutton, MU assistant director of outreach and prevention, said if symptoms are recognized early, it is possible to prevent stressors from leading to a decline in mental health.
“If you start to feel overwhelmed, it is a good time to step back, look at what is on your plate, and make choices about what things that can wait, things you don’t have to be doing, and things that are priority,” Hutton said.
It is important to recognize that each day is limited to exactly 24 hours, no matter how much or how little needs to be accomplished. Hutton said getting seven to nine hours of sleep daily should be a priority.
“When scheduling the remaining 15 to 17 hours per day, keep in mind time for class, work, organizations and other responsibilities and time for play, rest, socializing, meals, and things that are just for joy,” Hutton said. “Getting exercise several times a week can also help reduce stress and help manage stress when it happens.”
Stress can be beneficial in some amounts and detrimental in others. According to an article published by the Mizzou Wellness Resource Center, common signs of stress can include: frequent headaches, nausea, excessive worry or anxiety, increased or decreased appetite, insomnia, feeling overloaded or overwhelmed, social withdrawal, and/or an increase in smoking, alcohol, or drug use.
Students have a variety of resources available to them at Mizzou should they need assistance. The Behavioral Health Center and the Counseling Center, both on campus, are available for students. Both centers have licensed psychologists, and offer individual and group counseling. The Behavioral Health Center also employs psychiatrists who can prescribe medication if it becomes a necessary step in the process of managing a student’s mental health.
If cost becomes an issue, students should not put their health on hold, according to Student Health Center spokeswoman Pamela Roe.
“Students who take more than six credit hours pay a student health fee and can attend four sessions at no additional cost,” Roe said.
Some students may be hesitant to admit that they cannot conquer their mental issues without assistance, but it is important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not of weakness. In order to make the most use of their time at Mizzou, it is key that students be healthy, both physically and mentally.