“Students all over the UW System and at UW-Stout are struggling with their mental health, including having suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety and being isolated,” said Chasidy Faith, interim director of the Counseling Center. “The care packages are an informal way to talk with them, show a friendly face and share our culture of caring. We care about our students. This is a way to interact and share the resources available.”
COVID-19 isolation and the shutdowns to businesses and schools have added to the stress of many students, Faith said.
On Wednesday, April 21, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Counseling Center staff will have a table outside Price Commons with information on how to be a helpful bystander to someone experiencing a mental health concern or crisis, as well as information on self-care activities.
The center has been busy, Faith said, noting the staff is available to students through virtual appointments.
At the self-care event, UW-Stout senior Tori Williams, a psychology major from Blaine, Minn., planted some flower seeds into a peat pot. “It’s nice not to focus on school right now,” she said, as she added dirt to the pot. “This is just fun, and I enjoy it.”
As finals get closer and students work to finish class projects, stress is building, said Levi Wilson, a junior majoring in health, wellness and fitness. Wilson works at the Counseling Center. He encourages students who may know of peers who are struggling to listen and help them connect with counseling services or other services they may need to succeed at UW-Stout. “There is no shame in it,” said Wilson, of Minneapolis.
Michael Wilson, a junior psychology major from Cambridge, said having events to raise awareness about services available is important for students.
“When I was a first-year student, I did not take care of myself,” he said. “Now I have been taking care.”