Counseling Center aims to relieve student stress

USF’s Counseling Center offers group sessions. ORACLE PHOTO/NICOLE CATE

When getting ready for college, most students’ first stop is usually Staples or Office Depot. Books, pens and other stationary top the list of things to get together. One thing that some people forget to prepare for is mental health.

Most high school students hear horror stories about the stresses of college before they get there, but everyone either thinks that they can deal with it on their own or that it won’t happen to them.

According to the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA) for Fall 2015, 82.1 percent of the 2,665 respondents felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past 12 months. Also, 52.2 percent of respondents felt overwhelming anxiety and 30.6 percent felt so depressed that it was hard to function in the past year.

ACHA-NCHA’s Spring 2015 report states that two-thirds of students who are struggling do not seek treatment. USF’s Counseling Center offers various types of free and professional help.

If students feel they need help, they can call the Counseling Center to set up an initial appointment.

Previously, there was a 10-session limit on personal appointments, with students being referred to off-campus services when they reached their limit.

However, the Counseling Center said that it “eliminated the former practice of referring a substantial number of USF students to community providers following a brief initial contact session” on their 2014-2015 Annual Report.

The Counseling Center offers several drop-in group sessions for different topics weekly for people who don’t want to schedule individual sessions. 

On Mondays at noon, students who identify as pessimists can attend the Power of Being Positive in order to “celebrate positive events, demonstrate gratitude, determine accomplishments, develop positive habits, and other positive psychology traits,” according to the department’s website.

At 2 p.m. on the same day, and at 5 p.m. on Thursdays, the center hosts Mindfulness Meditation, a group session on relaxation through meditation.

Learning to Let Go is a session for students who struggle with anxiety. This meeting is held on Tuesdays at 5 p.m.

Wednesdays at 1 p.m. are for Life Hacks at the Counseling Center. This group focuses on tips for staying mentally healthy in college.

The office hours for USF’s Counseling Center are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. It is closed during university holidays, but the 24-hour telephone number is 813-974-283. It is located at SVC 2124.