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As semester wears on, UWRF health officials advise students to take care

Falcon News Service

October 12, 2016

Due to increasing stress levels, UW-River Falls health officials urge students to utilize campus resources.

As the fall semester progresses, students often experience stress from an increased academic workload while balancing jobs and social lives. Higher than normal stress levels can lead to emotional and physical problems that can jeopardize academic success during the semester. The university’s Student Health and Counseling Services provides resources for students including different types of counseling and partnerships with area health organizations.

“Students get stressed out, it seems, as the semester goes on, closer towards midterms and finals. We’re actually busy from the first or second week of classes but sometimes those times get a little bit more intense,” said Alice Reilly-Myklebust, director of Student Health and Counseling Services.

University health officials encourage students struggling emotionally to explore the options such as individual counseling and group therapy. According to an annual report compiled by the department, during the 2015-2016 school year approximately 409 students participated in individual counseling. Of those students, 77 percent said the counseling helped them to stay in school. During the sessions, students develop an individual program to address their issues.

“We definitely see people kind of get burnt out especially if they don’t have a plan or take some kind of steps to address it. It can really turn into a crisis,” said Kaleah Bautch, a UWRF personal counselor.

For students looking for a quick break from their everyday stress, the department offers a relaxation room and monthly animal therapy. Animal therapy has become very popular among students.

“It’s such a wonderful, positive, uplifting time to be there because everybody there is just so happy and students will say it’s the best part of their week,” Reilly-Myklebust said.

The fall semester features the start of cold and flu season and by October, many students are experiencing symptoms. Through a partnership with the Vibrant Health Family Clinic in River Falls, students are able to receive free basic care for colds, flu, strep throat and other common illnesses. In addition, students are provided a free taxi ride from campus to the clinic. During the 2014-2015 school year, approximately 2,770 students utilized the program.

“It’s not supposed to be health insurance but at least it provides some basic access to health services for students who are not feeling well, who have a minor injury or just aren’t sure what’s going on,” Reilly-Myklebust said.

Campus health officials also recommend students receive a free flu shot from the clinic. However, to prevent frequent trips to the clinic, UWRF health officials also recommend students find time to relax as well as make healthy food choices. One UWRF student is already taking steps to prepare for the stress of the remaining semester.

“I stay healthy be planning out a sleep schedule, so I always make sure I get to bed by a certain time every night and make sure that I have three meals a day that consist of healthy options so at least one or two fruits and vegetables as part of it,” said junior Nick Churchill.

Student Health and Counseling Services is located in 211 Hagestad Hall and is available to all UWRF students.