Mental Health

You're not alone!

here are some resources to help you get through

Whether it's stress, anxiety, depression, or something else here are resources to help you maintain your mental health. These are great tools but remember, you’re not alone at SU. Come talk to us if you’d like to learn more about mental health.

46%
of SU students have received mental health services from a therapist
77%
of SU students have received information on stress reduction
78%
of SU students want to know how to help others in distress

Source: Seattle University National College Health Assessment, Undergraduate, 2017

Stress

Some stress is normal and beneficial 

Stress is commonplace on college campuses but looks different for everyone. Learning more about stress can help you be more aware of your stressors so that you can better manage them. Signs of stress can impact you in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Feelings: anxiety, irritability, embarrassment
  • Thoughts: difficulty concentrating or making decisions, forgetfulness, fear of failure
  • Behaviors: crying, nervous laughter, acting impulsively 
  • Physical: sleep disturbances, fatigue, dry mouth

Stress management looks different for everyone

Being aware of your stressors and how you experience stress can enable you to better manage it. Some common stress management strategies are:

  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you burn off thr energy generated by stress.
  • Practive good sleep habits to ensure that you are well-rested. Sleep deprivatoin can cause many physical and mental problems and can increase stress. Aim for 8 hours a night. 
  • Try setting a specific goal for yourself that will improve your mood and help you reduce stress. 
  • Realize that we all have limits. Learn to work within your limits and set realistic expectations for yourself and others. 
  • Recognize the role your own thoughts can play in causing you distress. Challenge beliefs you may hold about yourself and your situation that may not be accurate. For example, do you continuously fall short of what you think you “should” accomplish? When our minds continuously feed us messages about what we “should” achieve, “ought” to be, or “mustn't” do, we are setting ourselves up to fall short of goals that may be unrealistic, and to experience stress along the way. 

We also offer a workshop on stress management and reduction that can be shared in classrooms, residence halls, or anywhere else there's a group of students. The workshop focuses on how students can change their patterns of thinking to better combat stress. For more information, contact the Program Coordinator for Mental Health Promotion. 

 

Services we offer

  • Goal setting - Wellness staff members and HAWC members are available to work with students to set goals.
  • Stress reduction and management workshop that focuses on empowering students to determine how stress management works best for them

Stress Workshop

 

Additional Resources

Anxiety

Some anxiety is normal. Does yours go away?

You may experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder. There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Some anxiety coping strategies include:

  • Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective.
  • Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.

Our online mental health screening tool shouldn't be can be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional but can help you determine what support you may need. 

 

Services we offer

  • 1 on 1 undergraduate peer support through HAWC
  • This screening is a quick way to determine if you or someone you care about may need to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation. It is educational, not diagnostic.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screening

Depression

Learn the symptoms 

Depression may only occur once in your life, but it's typical for people to have multiple episodes. Learning the symptoms of depression can help you identify when you may need support and enable you to support others that may be struggling with depression. Common symptoms include:

  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

The online mental health screening tool that can be used to determine whether your responses are consistent with depression. 

Three coping strategies

  • Strategy 1: Reach out and stay connected. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it won't mean you're a burden to others.
    • Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you; they just need to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.
    • Make face-time a priority. Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they don’t replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time.  

  • Strategy 2: Support your health.
    • Aim for eight hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems; whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. 

    • Practice relaxation techniques. A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

  • Strategy 3: Get moving.
    • Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when you’re depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.

    • Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you move—such as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.

Eating Disorders

Anyone can suffer from an eating disorder

Eating Disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape. Disordered eating can look different for everyone. The most common forms of eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder and affect both females and males. Causes of disordered eating can be biological, psychological, environmental, or a combination of various factors. 

The counselors at CAPS are a great on-campus resource. 

Services we offer

  • You can choose to connect with a staff member or HAWC member once, from time to time, or on a regular basis to talk about goal setting and planning.
  • This screening is a quick way to determine if you or someone you care about may need to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation. It is educational, not diagnostic. 

Eating Disorder Screening

 

Additional Resources

Seasonal Depression

Try out light therapy

Seasonal depression is a type of depression that's related to seasonal changes and tends to be cyclical. Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Signs and symptoms of Seasonal Depression may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Having low energy
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty

Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year. Treatment may include light therapy, medications, and/or psychotherapy. 

Services we offer

  • We have light therapy boxes that can be used in our office, Student Center 380. Recommended use is up to 30 minutes in the mornings. Stop by the office to learn more and take advantage of this free resource.

Additional Resources

Suicide Prevention

Suicide is not a normal response to stress

Suicide is preventable. Knowing the warning signs is the most effective way to prevent suicide. Signs include:

  • Hopelessness
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Notable changes in mood
  • Expressing no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life

If you notice something, say something

If you witness, hear, or see someone you know exhibiting any one or more of those signs, seek help AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Remember to never ignore unusual behaviors and do not promise confidentiality if talking with someone about suicidal thoughts or other distressed behavior. The goal is to get help and support for everyone involved, including you.