Mental Health at COS

The invisible side effect of the pandemic, mental health has become a more serious challenge many are facing and feeling more alone than ever.

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Photo by Finn on Unsplash

Even with today’s society being a technologically connected world, the pandemic continues to take its toll on individual’s mental health, with the CDC reporting an increase in mental health conditions. During the height of this pandemic, the CDC reported that “Considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19” citing adults during this pandemic are engaging in more substance abuse, increased suicidal thoughts, and a general overall feeling of anxiety and stress.

Rightfully so, this past year has been filled with uncertainty, death, heartache, and more stress than some have experienced in their entire life. According to the CDC “younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes.” And students at COS are no exemption from these feelings, however many are not utilizing the services that the Health and Wellness office offers.

Jill Maze is the COS Psychological Services Supervisor within COS Student Health Services, who explained that students, despite the stressors of the pandemic, are not utilizing student health services. When Jill Maze was asked if there had been an uptake of requests for mental health services her response was slightly shocking considering the state of things “Unfortunately, we know there are students out there who are suffering but I think many of them assume that we are not offering any support because they think COS is “closed.” While yes, most of the campus is closed to regular in-person classes, a lot of services and aid for students are still open and operational which has been Jill’s mission to spread the word that COS mental health services are still open to students.

A recent poll over the COS Student Connection page on Facebook revealed that out of the students who participated in the poll, most were feeling more stressed during this time of distance learning than they have in the past prior to the lockdowns and mandatory distance learning. An adjustment we all struggled a bit at some point or another, something that Jill Maze wants to ensure everyone remembers is just that “it is important to realize we are all in this together.” – Jill Maze.

COVID has not stopped COS mental health services but it has altered the way they provide services to students. Opting to move to telehealth to ensure they can assist as many students as possible during these trying times. Offering confidential therapy platform via Doxy.me allowing students to connect virtually, confidentially, and without extra downloaded software to receive counseling and therapy appointments.
Some of these changes have been received well by students.

Jill Maze points out “Some students have shared they actually like being able to have a counseling session from the comfort of their own home” while others continue to struggle with even more social distant changes “for others it has been an added struggle to not see their counselor in person.” Something student health services are working diligently to address. With counselors undertaking additional training to be able to better serve their students.

So, while we all might be home dealing with lockdowns, family members, children and feel like we are doing so alone, and this pandemic will never end. Student Health Services wants students to know that they are not alone, and they can reach out to any of the staff or even professors if they are struggling with mental health issues and stressors. Along with some advice for all students dealing with the varying anxiety and stress of this past year from one of their supervisors.

“Our minds and bodies are so interconnected, and we can’t expect to stay healthy mentally without moving our bodies to. Go outside for a walk around the neighborhood. Sit in the sunshine and soak it in for a few minutes.” – Jill Maze.

Students are also encouraged to drop in on Wellness Wednesday workshops that happen every Wednesday from 12 pm to 1 pm.