Especially as a college student, coping with mental health can be difficult. There are many resources available to those who wish to seek help for themselves or friends.
Chris Donevant-Haines serves as the assistant director of the LiveWell Office and is the advisor for the SHORE Peer Educators. Donevant-Haines has been a part of Coastal Carolina University for 15 years; she began in CCU’s counseling services and has been in various roles that dealt with health and wellness. While working as a paralegal during her undergraduate years, Donevant-Haines found that people were having difficulty with health issues causing them to file for bankruptcy. This inspired her studies of psychology which lead to her first job as a victim advocate for victims and survivors of domestic and dating violence.
“A lot of people have experienced depression or anxiety, so all of these experiences college students may have while they’re here at the university, we want to make sure they know that it’s ok that others care about them,” she said.
Donevant-Haines wants students to feel safe when on CCU’s campus. She said, “The thing about mental health topics is that they are very personal and some people feel, unfortunately, ashamed or embarrassed relating to their experiences. One of our goals is to help decrease the stigma and make people feel more comfortable.”
Chris Donevant-Haines lists some signs that may help identify some mental health issues: “From a peer to peer perspective; recognizing if someone has changed in some way unexpectedly or quickly. Maybe they started to isolate themselves from friends, they’re not participating in as many social events, and not showing up to class. They might be physically different, not practicing the same level of self-care as they usually do.”
Donevant-Haines recommends saying to someone who may be suffering from a problem with their mental health: “Hey, I am here if you need me, I am here to listen.” If they chose to share, listen and allow them to disclose to you when they feel most comfortable. Don’t hesitate to submit help, suggest someone for them to talk to and offer to walk with them to wherever they decide to go.
Stephanie Mobley, a junior Communications major with a minor in psychology, is interning for the SHORE and LiveWell office. Attending the events LiveWell and SHORE put on is important to Mobley because she says it’s a great way to become educated about wellness and become knowledgeable about the realities many students face.
Mobley recommends students attend the Out of the Darkness walk which raises awareness for suicide prevention. There is a $10,000 donation goal, and all of the proceeds will be going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Mobley advises that students use TAO mobile.
She said, “it’s an [app] that helps you work through your problems and gives you a lot of advice to help you deal with feelings you may have and the Youlivewell.coastal.edu site is a really great [source] . . . there is a section that will help you plan your own goals and look at some that have already been pre-made.”
Users of the app can select a goal date, and the programs can email you reminders to help you stay on track. This site is private and personalized just for you – once you log in and check in, you’ll receive suggestions for articles and videos relevant to your needs.
Skylar Hicks, a junior public health major, deals with mental health issues herself. She has a lot of stress from school that contributes to her anxiety, and her insecurities impact how she interacts with others. Hicks believes mental health is important in living positively, and she said that it is key for this generation because depression has become more common.
Hicks knows that when she is depressed, she has a hard time sleeping, eats less than she ought to, she feels judged from others, and she is unmotivated.
Hicks said, “If [students] are going through [mental health] issues, I think it’s good for them to talk to somebody other than their parents, because your parents can’t always know what you’re going through. There are certain things you can’t tell them, so it’s good to tell the other person so they can help and give you advice.”
Hicks has a counselor that she speaks to in person and over the phone. Hicks said that dressing up helps her feel better about herself. Hicks suggested that if you try to look your best you will receive and obtain a positive attitude. She advised that at-risk students should, “definitely get help; you can go to counseling at your university and at any other mental health facility. You can do healthy habits, eat better, sleep better and get more exercise.” Hicks wants you to give yourself some encouragement; don’t be afraid to tell yourself you are beautiful in the mirror and watch motivational videos.
Coastal Carolina University has many resources for their students. Faculty and staff want students to know they are not alone, and upcoming events have been scheduled to raise awareness.
Feb. 17-21: Wellness Week events 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. in HTC Center Concourse
Feb. 19: Wellness-Palooza 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
March 4: Wally’s Big Day Out from 10:30a.m. – 2 p.m. on Prince Lawn
March 4: International Women’s Day observed on Prince Lawn
March 21: 6th Annual Out of Darkness Walk
Sexual Violence Awareness Month
April 4: Relay for Life from 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. in Blanton Park
April 8: Countdown, Don’t Meltdown from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Prince Lawn
April 27-28: Study Tips & Treats from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to counseling and attend Wellness Week events and more because they are for you to meet the success you need to succeed.