Take the time to mind your mental health

Teresa Zangari, Contributing Writer

Mental health issues have become a prevalent matter on college campuses across the country, affecting the academic success and performance of students. To many of these students, the surge in mental health crises stem from the uncertainty that follows the pandemic.

Amid the intensified COVID-19 outbreaks, more than 71% of college students have admitted to feeling more anxious and depressed. Environments have become stricter with their isolation policies while counseling services are in high demand, making it harder for students to speak to someone.

But what is our university doing about it?

The university has recently hosted an event with Connecticut lawmakers and leaders to discuss the allocation of education relief funds and the importance of student well-being. A new mental health program will offer support for students while they battle emotional challenges and try to conquer the abnormality of the pandemic. All undergraduate and graduate students will have an opportunity to communicate with professionals about developing plans for coping and succeeding in our academic environment. However, there is still the chance that not all students will have time to seek help or even admit to needing it.

A new program isn’t enough for students to get back onto their feet. Students need to become more aware of individual opportunities that can improve their mental health and overall well-being.
For the upcoming month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, I challenge the members on our campus to step out of their comfort zones and complete some of the following exercises to relax their mind and body:

Implement a routine to keep yourself physically active.

That doesn’t just mean working out at the school gym. Something as simple as walking around campus or finding a scenic hike can help clear your mind. If this is something that might interest you, check out the AllTrails website.

Find a new hobby or interest.

From reading a new book to participating in team sports, hobbies can encourage people to take well-needed breaks. It also introduces new and fulfilling experiences and connections.

Join a group on campus.

A community that faces similar goals, reassures our sense of belonging. It can also add a new layer to the complexity of our identities. Happy UNew Haven, an undergraduate student organization, focuses specifically on the spread of mental health awareness, positivity, and kindness. If you’re interested, check out their Charger Connection page for more information.

Seek out mindful activities.

These activities can be found in many forms, the most popular being gratitude journals, taking up yoga classes, and/or meditation.

Download mobile apps.

Depending on what issues you are targeting, certain apps are designed and tailored to meet your specific needs while also managing stress levels. Some unique apps are used to aid in breathing, daily positive affirmations, sleeping and/or coping.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been unpredictable, and it will continue to weigh on our mental health. Because of this, it is important for us to consider and create solutions to better our well-being whether it be by seeking professional help or promoting self-care. Any effort made is a step towards discovering what works best for us in alleviating our wavering stress and anxiety levels.