With the return of students to campus, the Drake University Counseling Center is helping students manage their mental health during a time of increased stress and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other stressors. stress.
“I think the students are really overwhelmed and feeling tired from the pandemic,” said Danielle Green, director of the Drake University counseling center. “Many students shared that they felt exhausted from being around people on a regular basis. Many of us have also experienced trauma associated with the pandemic, so people are feeling extremely overwhelmed right now. “
Drake, Kamila Sadko, said she suffered a personal trauma from COVID-19 last year.
“I had COVID last June so my lungs are damaged and I’m more at risk of getting it,” Sadko said.
Sadko said she believed she would be returning to campus for her final year and that things would be relatively normal, but the reality was not what she expected.
“It’s been a little stressful, especially with the students and some people not taking it as seriously as they could,” Sadko said. “I wouldn’t mind coming back online if it stays like this, [with] cases continue to increase.
Kevin Sandifer, a graphic design major and senior, said he felt safe in the measures Drake has put in place to fight COVID-19.
“I live alone and everyone is masked, for the most part,” Sandifer said. “I see the number of students getting the shots and everything, and the percentage was pretty high, so I would mentally say I’m comfortable enough to come back to Drake and continue my education.”
Despite their differing views on how COVID-19 is handled by the Drake community, Sadko and Sandifer agreed that mental health more than ever deserves to be taken seriously.
“I think it’s a big deal,” Sandifer said. “If you can’t mentally focus on your game, you won’t do your best, you won’t be at your peak, you won’t do what you need to do.”
Sadko said the medical community and the United States as a whole need to do a better job of taking mental health seriously.
“I feel like we as a country don’t take it as seriously as other health issues,” Sadko said. “There are a lot of people who have a hard time getting diagnosed, especially women and minorities, because they are seen as overkill. “
In order for students to respond to their mental health issues, Green said, they must first recognize that their mental health is being affected.
“I think the students are trying to ignore that they are having a hard time and that is making it worse,” Green said.
Green said students would already feel much better if they prioritized personal care, such as journaling, eating and drinking enough, and getting enough sleep. Another way for students to manage their mental health is to take advantage of Drake’s mental health resources.
“Drake started creating opportunities for Drake students to connect with counseling, have mental health days and also create spaces for people to connect on campus,” Green said. . “Drake is currently working on lowering expectations of being busy and focusing on balance and well-being, which the university had not addressed before.”
The counseling center is located at 3116 Carpenter Ave. Students can make an in-person or virtual appointment with the counseling center by filling out a digital form on the center’s page on the Drake University website or by calling 515-271-3864.