By Riley Hansen
In the time of the coronavirus, typical college classrooms and ways of learning are in flux. Our college years already come with all sorts of change, and remote learning is just another with which to contend.
Specific stressors some college students face relate to the transitional period we find ourselves in—many students have left home for the first time, and they are newly independent.
This means navigating changing relationships, financial freedom, along with often intense classes, all at the same time.
All of the above can lead to loneliness, depression, and anxiety. On top of it all, we now have remote learning to contend with; clubs are not allowed to meet in person, the chance to create new friendships seems diminished for the time being, and there is anxiety about what’s going to happen next.
Thankfully, there are a multitude of different resources for UWF students. I spoke with Ashlyn Doty, president of UWF’s chapter of Active Minds, a nationwide organization devoted to raising mental health awareness among college students, some of whom face mental health issues for the first time in their lives.
Doty says she has personally noticed issues among students specific to remote learning, including a more stressful workload with more assignments, stress due to the changing world we live in, and more anxiety about what the future holds, even just what next semester will look like.
However, there are ways to combat those problems. She encourages opening up and reaching out, working to destigmatize the conversations surrounding mental health. A lot of people, from teenagers to college students to parents, find it hard to speak up about mental health issues. The more we talk about the issues we face, the more others will feel comfortable doing the same.
Support systems are needed for a healthy psychological life. That system can be made up of family, friends or anyone you can trust. Doty gives Active Minds as an example—it’s a space where students can talk about mental health issues and know someone will care and listen.
Professional help is also available. Counseling and Psychological Services here at UWF offers free counseling to currently enrolled students. This includes different individual and group therapies (including art therapy and an “In, Out & In-Between” group), biofeedback and psychiatric services, most of which are currently operating via tele-appointments.
Doty encourages being prepared with resources like CAPS—no one knows when they will be faced with a hardship or crisis.
“It’s important for students to know that they’re not going through this season alone,” Doty said. “Their experiences are unique, but we’re all together in our loneliness. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to reach out for help when you need it.”
Counseling and Psychological Services at UWF: 850-474-2420
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text GULF to 741741
Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1
Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Trevor Lifeline for LGBTQ+ Youth: 1-866-488-7386
Rape Crisis Trauma Recovery Hotline: 850-433-RAPE (7273)
Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
Baptist Hospital Emergency Room: 850-434-4011
Sacred Heart Hospital Emergency Room: 850-416-7000
West Florida Hospital Emergency Room: 850-494-4000
Local Law Enforcement: 911
UWF Campus Police: 850-474-2415