Take care of your mind: mental health at JMU – The Breeze

Posted: May 16, 2020 at 6:47 pm

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

Moving away from everything familiar for the first time may be daunting. A number of routines and habits are about to change for incoming freshmen. Theres no more Mom reminding you to clean your room, Dad to watch football with or an older sibling to check in on your well-being. Maintaining good mental health away from home is important.

According to CNBC, an American Psychological Association study from 2018 found that about one in three freshmen will wrestle with their mental health. With several changes happening when moving into a college dorm, like taking on higher level classes and making new friends, sometimes self-care is the last thing on ones mind. Fortunately, there are several ways to cope with mental health issues.

Traci Ballou-Broadnax, the coordinator of multicultural outreach for JMUs Counseling Center, said not to compare your transition to that of others, such as parents or older siblings.

The experience will look different for every student, so comparing how someone feels like they are adjusting to how others seem to be adjusting is often not the best approach, Ballou-Broadnax said.

Another JMU counselor, Nina Critz, whos the associate director for administration, said students should get enough sleep and attend to their nutrition and physical needs while exploring all that JMU has to offer.

I encourage students to embrace the many occasions for fun and growth while balancing their need for stability and self-care, Critz said.

The Counseling Center is a resource students shouldnt be afraid to use. Located on the third floor of the Student Success Center, the Counseling Center offers a variety of services in addition to formal counseling.

The Studio and Oasis are excellent resources, even if a student just needs some self-care, or is not quite ready for therapy, Ballou-Broadnax said.

There are also therapy dogs available in the office. The services the Counseling Center offers include both individual and group counseling, treatment programs, the sexual trauma empowerment program (STEP), self-care spaces, consultation services, psychiatric services, outreach services, the multicultural peer mentor program, wilderness therapy and workshops.

Also, the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services (IIHHS), a building just off campus thats walkable from the Hillside or Village dorms, also offers counseling sessions. Beverly Robertson, an IIHHS employee, said that counseling students in graduate school will usually conduct the sessions here. Its a fee of $10 per session, making it more affordable than other outside resources.

Some other ways to take care of mental health include exercising--students should take advantage of the University Recreation Center while they can--walking outside, calling a friend or family member or joining a club or organization to get involved and meet new people.

Being patient with, and kind to [yourselves]; making thoughtful and intentional decisions; and taking advantage of the countless resources and supports at JMU are invaluable ways to protect mental health as [you] adjust to college, Ballou-Broadnax said.

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Take care of your mind: mental health at JMU - The Breeze

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