The month of May is all about mental health and how we can improve it. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realized his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. It is estimated that only 17 percent of U.S adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health.”
Mental health problems are very common no matter what age you are. The Mental Health Foundation states that, “About a quarter of the population experience some kind of mental health problem in any one year.” The most common Mental Health issues are depression and anxiety. In fact, depression affects more than 26 percent of the U.S. adult population, according to the CDC.
A few ways to improve mental health include:
1. Develop and maintain strong relationships. We attend a college with over 4,000 people–keep old connections, but continue to build new relationships with members of the St. Kate’s community. We are bound to make friends who enrich our lives and make us happy.
2. Get involved around campus. There are so many things to do on campus, so take advantage of the time spent away from home to discover what college really has to offer. Making new friends and feeling involved can bring a sense of feeling at home. If you’re a commuter student or live off campus (which 60 percent of us do), try and stay connected to campus by going to events or by joining a club.
3. Be active and eat healthy. This will help maintain a healthy body and make you feel good. Being active doesn’t require going to the gym, but with that said, the new Butler Center is pretty great. Give intermural sports, going for a walk, or dancing a try, as all count as forms of exercise. Combining physical activity with a balanced diet will definitely make you feel good inside and out. “Working out gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.” – Elle Woods, Legally Blonde. So that’s a plus!
4. Challenge yourself. Life is all about learning. Take advantage of all the opportunities surrounding us and try something new. Commit to a personal goal or learn a new language. After you graduate, employers look for someone who stands out, and each skillset you develop not only builds confidence and gives you a sense of progress and achievement, but makes you a better candidate for the job.
5. Don’t mess with stress. If you know writing papers stresses you out, learn to manage your time in a way in which you can complete it in reasonable time. Stress affects people in different ways, so it can be handled in different ways. Stress only seems bad if it gets the better of you, so don’t let it. Plus, if all else fails, try yoga, which is also considered exercise. (See how this all connects?)
6. Sleep. Who doesn’t like to sleep? Even though we are all cramming for exams, we still need sleep because it restores both your mind and body. You need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night in order to perform to your full potential. If you can’t get seven to nine hours, try taking a 20 minute power nap during the day to recharge.
7. Ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help. Everyone has a different life journey with bumpy roads, but there is always someone who cares about you that is willing to help. St. Kate’s also has numerous resources and people who are willing to help.
If you have any questions relating to mental health, please contact:
The Counseling Center: 651-690-6805
Health and Wellness Center: 651-690-6714.
Ask Katie Peer Educators: email@example.com
Submit an anonymous health question to the Ask Katie Peer Educators at:
The Ask Katie Peer Educators are here to help! Did you know that in St. Paul alone there are many mental health resources? One of the most well-known is Mental Health Resources, Inc. (MHR). MHR is a nonprofit organization that offers mental health services to anyone experiencing mental illness. MHR can be reached at (651) 659-2900.
Other resources include:
Metro Area Mental Health Crisis Response for Ramsey County: (651) 266-2700
National Suicide Prevention Life Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)