Navigating the freshman year of college can be an intense and stressful time. Utah State University has mental health resources to help.
The freshman year of college can be a scary experience full of many firsts. You may feel a lot of stress and anxiety when you least expect it.
Counseling and Psychology Services at USU offers mental health services to all students. Eligible students can have one-on-one sessions with a counselor or work with a CAPS Clinical Case Manager to find a therapist to work for them at an off-campus service.
CAPS also offers self-guided resources for self-help. These resources cover topics like stress, anxiety, depression, suicide and more. Free apps, videos, articles, online workshops, and manuals are available on the CAPS website. They have pre-recorded workshops that can be watched anytime.
Tasha Howard, an assistant professor at USU Extension who specializes in mental health, said online resources aren’t the only way to learn more about mental health.
“In addition, a course is offered that can not only help you learn more about mental health, but also help you learn how to find valid, research-based help,” Howard said. Cataloged as HDFS 3700, the course tackles mental health in a simple way.
“I’ve partnered with the course instructor and we’re offering an adapted version of this online course for those in the agricultural field,” Howard said. “The course is backed by research and teaches about mental health in a real, easy-to-understand way.”
“How Leisure Improves Mental Health,” an article on the USU Extension website, is written by Emma Parkhurst, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice Extension.
According to Parkhurst, the benefits of recreation for mental health include reduced stress, better mental health, improved well-being, better social connection, and less depression and anxiety.
“When we dedicate time to intentionally engage in pleasurable activities, research shows that our mental health can flourish,” Parkhurst said.
Nature can also improve your mental health. Ways to spend time in nature include visiting natural sites, taking breaks outdoors, bringing plants indoors, and gardening.
“Experts agree that spending as little as 10 minutes in nature can improve mood, focus and overall well-being,” Parkhurst said.
If you’re interested in agriculture, agriculture, and mental health, the podcasts available through Mental Health Education Extension might interest you. The hosts of the new AgWellness podcast series, Jacob Hadfield and Josh Dallin, said the podcast shares experiences with mental health and working in agriculture.
“The new AgWellness podcast series explores mental health in farming and ranching communities,” the Extension website says. “Mental health is a growing concern in the agriculture and ranching community and through this podcast we will be sharing stories about the impact of mental health issues, helpful resources and information.”
The USU Inclusion Center is another mental health resource on campus. They have information for everyone with specific areas of interest on topics such as adult learners, gender and sexuality, women and gender, indigenous peoples and multicultural experience.
USU has many resources for mental health – take advantage of them and what they have to offer. Good luck to all freshmen and transfer students!