Coping with stress, depression, and anxiety at Sac State

Claudia Rivas

Depression and anxiety are frequent problems in universities across the country. The likely triggers are as common as work, academics, lack of sleep and social dilemmas.

However, other more complex contributing factors cause these mental disabilities as well.

Students are not only consumed by the stress of effort, but are affected by new environments, low self-esteem and feeling as though he or she does not belong.

At Sacramento State these are prevalent; however, there are specific programs such as Active Minds and the Student Health and Counseling Services on campus to help combat these issues.

Active Minds is a program on campus that strives to educate the student community about mental health and emotional wellness on issues including: depression, anxiety, stress management and suicide prevention. The purpose of the organization is an effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and treatment.

The program offers a wide range of services offered by peer health educators who focus on providing outreach, promoting awareness campaigns, interactive workshops and presentations.

The free presentations they offer include stress management, college mental health, sleep, body image, food and mood and college health jeopardy. The main interactive workshop Active Minds is holding currently is called, “Working Out Your Stress.”

This free weekly drop-in workshop is on Tuesdays at 10:30–11:30 a.m. and Fridays 10:00–11:00 a.m. in the Cove of The Well.

It focuses on specific concepts such as de-stressers, time management, self-esteem and self-love. Through ice breakers, activities and factual presentations, the program helps the student population at Sac State solve problems and build healthier lifestyles.

When asked how Active Minds helps the student population, student manager of the program Tracia Rochelle explained how the organization is working to help those seeking help in needs involving mental health.

“The statistics show that one in every four individuals presently suffers from, or has suffered from, a mental illness, and many do not choose to seek help because of the stigma associated with doing so, either brought about from popular media, their background or culture, lack of education, or a variety of other factors,” said Rochelle.

Rochelle went on to express how Active Minds is committed to getting the conversation started on campus with other students relevant to mental illness and changing the conversation about mental health, making the topic normalized.

This is being done by providing resources in collaboration with Student Health and Counseling Services.

At the Student Health and Counseling Services in The Well, students struggling with personal conflicts are able to express themselves in a non-judgmental environment through individual, couple and group therapies with many different themes.

With enthusiasm, Sac State student Junior Nunez conveyed his experience of using the program’s individual therapy and how the process eminently helped him during a tough time.

“It really helped a lot,” said Nunez. “I have friends and family who will always be there for me but I liked that I knew that I had a weekly appointment with someone who let me express my feelings without even the slightest judgement. My counselor at The Well gave me great relief especially during such a hectic and stressful time in my life.”

The comfort at the Student Health and Counseling Services is not only the support given to students but also the knowledge that there are multiple counselors ready to give assistance.

If a student does not bond with the first assigned counselor he or she is able to change counselors until they find one they feel comfortable with.

By offering multiple ways of processing the help, students are able to find a method that truly comforts them. This way they are able to convey feelings in a pleasant environment.

The Student Health and Counseling Services provides help in areas such as: coping with loss, everyday mindfulness, healthy relationships, mood education, LGBTQQIA support, managing depression, substance abuse, interpersonal communication skills and stress management.

Sac State Student Health and Counseling Services’ Marriage and Family Therapist, Jason Cataldo, expressed how the different group therapies impact students on campus.

“The key part is getting people to buy into groups,” said Cataldo. “Most will find that group is intimidating at first. But we will still offer and suggest it to people. Once students get into group, they start to think about and understand how, ‘oh there are people who feel the same as me, I realize there are others that understand.’ Getting people to be comfortable to attend the group rather than just stay away is key in helping the student.”

Cataldo explained that getting people to view and sample the experience of therapy rather than force students is key in assisting their road to problem solving.

If interested, students are able to make appointment by going into The Well or making an appointment through the student portal online.

Having anxiety, stress, depression, or other mental health difficulties during college is not only an obstacle but a major challenge to cope with. By understanding the programs on campus available to help alleviate such compilations, students have the opportunity to productively heal or solve personal problems in a healthy enjoyable manner.