It’s not uncommon for college students to feel sad, stressed, confused or even angry in this period of prolonged social distancing. These uncertain times can take a toll on your mental health. And it’s important to know, if you’re feeling anxious or depressed, you don’t have to handle everything on your own.
At St. Edward’s, our faculty and staff are prepared to help, with services, activities and education to safeguard your mental wellbeing. We want every Hilltopper to have a healthy and successful academic year, and the following counseling, wellness and spiritual resources will support you along the way. Take advantage of these online and in-person options.
Health & Counseling Center (HCC) Offers Remote Counseling Options
In addition to individual counseling sessions, the HCC is offering support groups and mental wellbeing workshops on Zoom. “We want our students to feel a sense of community and build support networks despite being physically apart,” says Dr. Vanessa Peña, director of the Health & Counseling Center. “Our workshops and group services are tailored to our students’ needs based on what we’ve seen over the past several months.”
Online Support Groups
If you feel ready to address certain topics on a deeper emotional level, HCC is offering an ongoing series of online counseling groups, including Survivors’ Circle, Black Student Support Group and Monarch Wellness Gathering. These groups provide a safe and confidential environment for students with similar concerns to share experiences, struggles and feelings while learning coping skills and gathering resources.
Online Weekly Mental Wellbeing Drop-In Workshops
If you prefer not take part in a support group, you can join an HCC series of webinar workshops that focus on specific topics, such as Coping During COVID, Relationships and Stress Management. You’ll learn about coping skills and online resources, get answers from mental health professionals and better understand what you’re going through. Here’s a helpful list and details on HCC support groups and workshops.
Students have access to a variety of telecounseling services offered by HCC staff as well as 24/7 telecounseling support provided by our health services partners. The services are free of charge. To get started with counseling, contact HCC at 512-448-8538 during business hours.
In-Person Crisis Counseling
Crisis services are offered at the HCC office on campus in Lady Bird Johnson Hall. For assistance, call 512-448-8538, Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. For after-hours crisis support, you can reach the counselor on call by calling UPD at 512-448-8444.
Recreation and Wellness Services Enhance Overall Wellbeing
Andy Lemons, senior director of Recreation and Wellness, can point to a thousand reasons why mental health and physical activity go hand-in-hand. “It’s a well-documented fact that active lifestyles contribute to lower incidents of stress, anxiety and depression,” says Lemons. Social-distancing guidelines allow you to access many of RecWell’s programs and resources. In-person and online options are available. The RecWell team recommends these activities to get started:
- Make use of the RAC Fitness Center to stay active. Virtual personal training is also available.
- Work one-on-one with a Peer Wellness Coach to set and achieve your health and wellness goals.
- Participate in a GroupX classes in person or virtually. A weekly guided meditation is included.
- Consider joining a Club Sport to connect to a sense of team fellowship.
- Get involved in Rec Sports events to meet new people and expand your social network.
Campus Ministry Helps You Reflect and Refocus
Campus Ministry serves students of all faiths and spiritual backgrounds. “We want to support our students in their mental and spiritual wellbeing, especially during these difficult times,” says Liza Manjarrez, associate director of Campus Ministry. “Reflection, prayer, service and spiritual counseling can lead to a deeper understanding of yourself and your place in the world.”
Prayer and Worship
- Online Sunday Mass: 8 p.m., live streamed with drive-thru and walk-up for Communion
- In-person daily Mass: 12 p.m., limited to 9 people
- Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel access: 7 a.m.–7 p.m., Hilltopper ID required
Service and Justice
- Virtual Volunteer Opportunities are a great way to continue serving the Austin community no matter where you are. Helping others makes you feel good about yourself and enhances your sense of purpose.
- In-person service and additional virtual opportunities are coming soon. Tell us how you’re ready to serve.
Retreat and Faith Development
- Virtual retreats are a time to unplug from the many distractions of life and refocus your heart and mind on your spiritual journey.
- Bible study, rosary and prayer groups give you opportunities to think more deeply about your faith and build community with fellow Hilltoppers.
- Spaces for meditation, reflection and prayer are abundant across our beautiful campus and provide a quiet setting to calm the mind and nourish our mental wellbeing.
- The Campus Ministry e-newsletter brings you weekly inspiration and updates on programs, resources and opportunities for service. Sign up to receive it.
Now more than ever, we encourage you to prioritize your mental health and seek out what works for you. It could be participating in an online support group … joining a fitness class … attending a Campus Ministry retreat … or hiking at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve to enjoy the great outdoors.
As we take care of ourselves, let’s also look out for each other. Reach out to fellow Hilltoppers and share information and resources that they’ll find helpful. If you see someone struggling, say something. If you can, do something. In our caring community, no one has to go it alone.