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Image courtesy of UNM Student Health and Counseling.

SHAC shakes down midterm woes: offers free mental health workshops

Stress, anxiety and an existential crisis or two – feelings that college students are all too familiar with, Traye Holland said – a workshop leader and Mental Health Trainer & Development Specialist for Student Health and Counseling. As midterms approach, these feelings come crashing through campus once more.

To combat these concerns, SHAC offers a free mental health workshop to students called “Surviving Midterms.” The workshop is “designed to teach students study skills and self-care tips,” according to their webpage.

SHAC will continue to host free mental health workshops throughout the semester covering similar topics.

“Exams are stressful,” Holland said. “I’m a college dropout. I went to another college immediately after that (associates program), and I was struggling with a lot of mental health issues … I was stressed out.”

The workshop discussed methods for identifying and dealing with stress and anxiety. These methods include positive self-talk, breathing exercises and more general self-care tips such as getting proper sleep, time management and having a healthy eating schedule.

The workshop was structured as a slideshow presentation and offered room for more specific questions from attendees. The presentation included information for those that may not have the knowledge or vocabulary regarding stress and anxiety.

“I didn’t necessarily know they were mental health issues at the time because I didn’t have the language for it,” Holland said. “This (workshop) allows me to talk to students about strategies that I wish I had.”

For Holland, these workshops are not just about helping students through a singular struggle, but to give students the tools they need to go through the other struggles life has in store.

“My biggest hope with these workshops is I always want to provide skills, not only (the skills) that students can use in college, but also skills they can use outside of college for the rest of their lives,” Holland said.

Any student with questions or concerns regarding mental health is welcome at SHAC’s health promotions offices located on the plaza level, no appointment required, Holland said. For those experiencing a more urgent need for such resources or someone to talk to, the Agora Crisis Center is free, confidential and their phone line is open 24/7.

Other resources available include the app TimelyCare. Being an online healthcare portal, it is a way for students to reach out to providers and to receive education on mental health and self-care. The app is free for anyone enrolled at UNM and it offers 24/7 access to its resources, including scheduling appointments and online counseling.

UNM Health’s Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is also available through referral for those in need of at-home care. “The ACT team delivers psychiatric counseling and other community services to the homes of patients who have struggled with traditional outpatient care,” UNM Health’s website reads – a service designed around in-home care for those that deal with more difficult episodes concerning mental health.

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While the topic of mental health remains a growing discussion, education on access to such resources remains an integral part of the conversation.

Jaymes Boe is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at 

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