Category Archives: Mental Health

Stressed by Finals?

If you’re like me with finals right around the corner your stress levels have gone up with studying for test, projects, or papers. DeStress Fest Poster - Dec 2013 (2)However there is a way to help you cope with these added stress levels, exercise.  Aerobic exercise is a great way to help lower your stress levels even if it is a thirty minute quick workout. Usually weekends are my days off from working out but I was starting to get stressed and couldn’t focus so I came to the UND Wellness Center and used the 30 minute circuit (located on the upper level). I felt so much better after that quick workout. I had my focus back and my stress levels I could feel were lowered. I finished my homework stress free and I could enjoy the night, while not having to focus on my homework instead.  stress2Head to the Physical Activity Booth during the FroZEN De-Stress Fest at the Memorial Union Loading Dock this Wednesday (Dec 11th, 2013 11am-2pm) to learn more about how Exercise helps improve brain function & take stress away during stressful times (like FINALS)!

-Kelsey Olson, FLEX Intern, UND Wellness Center


Now that Halloween has past, it has kicked off the fall and holiday season.  This is also known as Well-o-ween.  During well-o-ween we have to remember to stay healthy!

A few ways you can stay healthy during well-o-ween are listed below:

  • Maintain your exercise routine or start exercising.
  • Exercise can help beat the fall blues and it will keep your immune system strong.
  • Don’t forget to keep eating fruits and vegetables
    • With all the holidays and change in temperature sometimes we forget how important fruits and veggies really are.
    •  Kale, pumpkin, apples, sweet potatoes and pomegranates are a few things that are in season right now.
  • Flu seasonGet your flu shot; this will prevent you from being sick.
    • Get enough sleep and maintain stress
      • This helps fight off the flu.


citrus exercise live eat be healthy needle tea veggie




UND launches new webpage as resource to help students in distress

College.  Highlights for most students include meeting new friends, getting involved on campus and becoming socially engaged.

While college is a wonderful time for most students, some students may struggle. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents and other students. They may be found in the classroom, at home or within residence halls.

UND Cares is a webpage that was created as a resource guide for parents, staff, faculty and students because UND cares about distressed students or students in need. The webpage can be used to gather information about campus resources, make referrals, and demonstrate how to help each other in time of need.

The webpage also helps students, faculty, staff and parents learn about the professional support se

rvices available to students on campus through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both are available to provide consultation about providing a student with the help that he or she may need.

“Sometimes we may be concerned about a student, a friend or a loved one and we don’t know what to do or who to call,” said Cara Halgren, UND associate vice president and dean of students. “If you are concerned about someone in our community, please call us. We can help.”

According to the UND 2012 American College Health Association – National College Heath Assessment, in the past year:

  • 21.3 percent of UND students felt so depressed it was difficult to function.
  • 6 .9 percent seriously considered suicide.
  • 1.5 percent attempted suicide.
  • More than 1 in 4 students indicated that stress interfered with their academic success.

    Amberkay Crotts (left), a student employee, and  Napoleon Andriopoulos, Ph.D., psychology resident and UND staff psychologist, discuss issues related to student stress in the UND Counseling Center inside McCannel Hall.

    Amberkay Crotts (left), a student employee, and Napoleon Andriopoulos, Ph.D., psychology resident and UND staff psychologist, discuss issues related to student stress in the UND Counseling Center inside McCannel Hall.

Stress has been the No. 1 academic impact cited by UND students since the survey was started in 2000, according to the Dean of Students office.

Identifying warning signs of distress is the first step in knowing how to help.  These can include:

  • Significant changes in daily activities.
  • Cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular or social activities.
  • Problems that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Withdrawn, volatile, tearful or emotional behavior
  • Acting out of character
  • Talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide
  • Difficulty in concentrating or carrying on normal conversation
  • Excessive dependence on others for company or support
  • feeling out of control in regard to emotions, thoughts or behaviors

“At least one-tenth of the student population finds their way through our doors.  Maybe they were encouraged, maybe they heard about the Counseling Center. Whatever brought them to us, the counseling center is here for you or someone you care about,” said Myron Veenstra, director of the UND Counseling Center.

Amberkay Crotts (left) student employee, and Lisa Moore, administrative assistant, serve to welcome students and others in the UND community to the Counseling Center inside McCannel Hall.

Amberkay Crotts (left) student employee, and Lisa Moore, administrative assistant, serve to welcome students and others in the UND community to the Counseling Center inside McCannel Hall.

Services at the UND Counseling Center are free and confidential for enrolled students.

“College can take a while to adjust to; it’s nice knowing that there are people out there that truly care about the hardships you are going through,” said UND student Kyle See-Rockers,  president of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

The University of North Dakota has tools to help identify students with those warning signs. It’s important to know where to direct them for help.  UND Cares can help improve a college career and even save a life.

“The safety and overall well-being of our campus is a responsibility that is shared by all university community members,” Eric Plummer, UND director of public safety and chief of police. “ Remember if you see something, say something in order for us to work together to make an exceptional UND.”

Time Management

How many of you feel that there are never enough hours in a day to get everything done? How many of you have so much on your plate that it’s nearly impossible to do everything?

Being a college student can be extremely exhausting. It takes a lot of time, energy, motivation, and dedication to do all what we do! You might not only attend classes, but also have a job, be on a sports team, engage in other recreational activities, or just want some form of social life. Stress in a common result of all these demands.

But there is hope for us all! Want to know the secret to preventing the stress from happening and to feel like there is more time in the day?? Time management is the key!

Being good at time management means that you are able to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day so you can effectively accomplish your goals. We all have the same amount of hours in a week but not all of us know how to manage them. By learning the trick of time management, you will be able to:

1) Accomplish even more than you do now and feel really good about yourself! 2) Have more free time because you will get things done quicker; 3) Have less stress by doing everything you need to do and not feel overwhelmed; 4) Lead a more balanced life because you’re not so stressed; and 5) Meet your deadlines more efficiently.

Doesn’t this sound appealing? If your answer is “yes”, there are some tips on how you can do it:

  • Identify time wasters (e.g. watching T.V., texting, other technology) and choose those that you can eliminate. The ones you can’t get rid of, reward yourself with.
  •  Anticipate when you can take action to avoid impossible situations when you feel cramped and unproductive (e.g. do not wait until the last minute to study for a test or write a paper).
  •  Plan your day. Keeping a schedule of what needs to be done will help you stay on track. It will also create a sense of accomplishment when you check off what you’ve done.
  •  Break it down. With planning, write down smaller goals or steps that it will take to accomplish what you have set up for the day. Starting with bigger tasks can be overwhelming.
  • Pay attention to your attention! Being able to recognize when you lose focus or procrastinate can help you to be in control more and develop steps on how to get back on track.

Source: “Time Management” workbook created by Mayland Community College, 1996.

Healthier Winter

Are you sick of waking up with a lingering cough during the winter that just won’t go away? What about the spontaneous sore throat that keeps you on cough drops like they are gobstoppers? I think I have a trick that will help you strengthen your immune system to keep you feeling healthy. Exercise.

In my previous blog I stated the benefits of exercise dealing slightly with mental health, but exercise will also help strengthen your immune system if you are exercise properly. A moderate-Intensity workout will give you the best results for keeping you healthy. Over working out will actually weaken your system, so be careful.

If you are like most of us and have a hard time getting to the gym during the cold winter months, focus on seasonal activities where you get a minimal of 30min of exercise a day. Here are some ideas:

  • Ice Skating: With plenty of rinks around spend part of your afternoon skating, whether is it playing hockey, with friends, or with a boyfriend or girlfriend (great cheap date).
  • Sledding: Yes, sledding can still be fun as a college student. Anyone who has gone before knows the physical strength it takes to get up the hill time after time.
  • Cross-country Skiing: Right at the Wellness Center are cross country trails during the winter months, don’t be afraid to try it out. It is a lot of fun skiing with a group of people and is very easy to learn! (these will be available mid-January snow accumulation dependent of course)

Make it a goal for yourself this winter to keep your blood pumping and to continue to get your physical activity in. Not only will it increase endurance it will also help build your immune system.

See ya around UND!

UND Student Health Services Hours for Friday, November 23rd

Please note that UND Student Health Services will be open from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM on Friday, November 23rd (the Day after Thanksgiving Holiday) to serve students.

Students can make an appointment by calling 777-2605 or use our Online Appointment Form. You may also call 777-4500.  We do our best to work in students who have an urgent medical situation, but it is best to call ahead to minimize delays.  Please call in advance if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment.

If students need care after hours, non-emergency services are available at Altru Urgent Care, which is located next to the Emergency Room at Altru Hospital on South Columbia Road. For information call 701-780-5968.

In the case of an emergency, please dial “911” or proceed to the Emergency Room at

Altru Hospital.Altru Hospital

1200 S. Columbia Rd.
Grand Forks, ND 58201



Please Note: Student and/or student’s health insurance provider are responsible for the costs of emergency and non-emergency after hours care (to include Office Visit and any other applicable ancillary service charges). 

Exception:  In the event student is a Student Blue subscriber and SHS is closed, an Authorized Referral may be issued.  When an Authorized Referral is issued the Copayment Amounts will be waived for Office Visits and Emergency Services from a Participating Health Care Provider.  An Authorized Referral does not guarantee payment of benefits. Benefits for services received as a result of an Authorized Referral are subject to the conditions, limitations and exclusions of this Benefit Plan. Benefit payment will be denied if the Subscriber is not covered under this Benefit Plan on the date the services are provided.

After hours care is also available through several local community providers:

Altru Family Medicine Center              8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

1380 S. Columbia Rd.
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Altru Family Medicine Residency         8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (conveniently located on UND Campus)

725 Hamline St
Grand Forks, ND 58203-2819

Aurora Clinic                                      8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

1451 44th Ave S Unit F
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Aurora Urgent Care                             8:00 AM – 6:30 PM

Dr. Cedric Masa – Julie Solberg, PA-C – Dr. Matthew Viscito, MD
2650 32nd Avenue South, Suite D
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Who Needs Sleep?

As college students we have all seen the impossible triangle of college life. You might think that you can only pick one or two options between getting enough – sleep, good grades, or an exciting social life – I’m here to tell you that if you find balance in your life you can have all three! College is not an easy transition for many incoming freshmen and many of them develop mental health issues and have irregular sleep cycles. In a recent study conducted at North Dakota State University in 2011- incoming college freshmen had the highest average number of days a week where they woke up feeling unrested. The two main reasons for not getting enough sleep were studying late into the night (28.8%) or socializing with friends (22.7%).

Definitely, one night of staying up late to study or hang out won’t hurt you in the long run, but the problem lies when it is done repeatedly. During sleep is your body’s time to rejuvenate itself, and if you don’t give it that time- all aspects of your life can suffer. Bad sleep habits can link directly to poor grades, energy level, and personal health. In a study done by Select Comfort, the mean GPA for college students was a 3.08 with poor sleeping habits, where as it was 3.27 for students who have developed consistent sleep tendencies.

The one thing that can help you obtain all three corners of “the impossible triangle” is time management skill. This is what you can do to sharpen the skill:
• Find out where you are wasting time. You can do that by tracking your daily activity. Ask yourself “How do I spend my week? How do I spend each day? What time am I actually wasting?” Remember that time management is about changing your behavior and not your time.
• Determine your goals and plan your time. First, think about what your goals are for the semester. Then, prioritize what needs to be done this month and create a weekly schedule. By having a schedule and actually sticking to it- is a great way to be productive!
• Use time management tools. You can use a program like Outlook to create your weekly calendar and get updates.
• Celebrate for sticking to your schedule. Do not forget to treat yourself for the progress you are making and the schedule that is helping you!

By using these simple techniques you will be surprised have time you have for everything you need. So is it possible to get enough sleep while having a good time at college and get good grades at the same time? Absolutely, yes! It is all about having a plan and being committed to accomplishing your goals.

Feeling alone, sad, depressed or anxious? Get up and move!

There are too many beautiful things in this world for us to live our life feeling blue. However, there will be times when different life struggles will come up, losing a loved one, dealing with a relationship problem, or getting through a tough class. 17% of the world’s population is suffering from depression, according to the Department of Physiotherapy at Lund University in Sweden.

Depression is a topic very near and dear to my heart and I am sure that if you think about it, you will be able to name at least one person you know who struggles with depression. Maybe you are one. It can be a touchy topic. However, it is – important to be open about it because there are ways to deal with it. One of them is simply exercise. I actually notice myself getting more stressed and anxious for things when I do not exercise.

Many studies have shown that exercising reduces the symptoms of depressions. The most recent study conducted, by Sebastian Eriksson and Gunvor Gard at Lund University, was done to see what type of exercise works the best to reduce the symptoms of depression. The results showed that lifting weights (free weights or machines) worked the best, with high levels of cardio exercise (75%-85% heart rate) working most of the time.  Thus, combining the two will give you your complete work out and the best, almost guaranteed, results you would be hoping for.

If you or anyone you know is struggling from feeling alone, sad, or depressed, know that you aren’t alone and exercise can help. Give it a try!

My Life- Dealing with Suicide

Suicide. It’s a strong word. It’s not a very good subject to have to talk about but when you have lived it and dealt with it in your family not only once but twice you know the feeling. You have felt the pain, the heartache and the loss. My cousin Travis, was the first person that we lost in our family to a suicide. It was a couple of days before his 19th birthday. He was a trouble teen who was lost, had a taste for alcohol and never thought his life would get any better. He was my closest friend and losing him to suicide affected our family forever. Then years later living in a marriage with my husband at the time who was a depressed alcoholic. Same situation, same scenero, never thought his life would get any better. He had other demons that I could never fix. A not so great childhood of abandonment and seeing physical abuse between his parents and alcoholism. You can only love someone so much, you can only help as much as you can. I wasn’t new to the loss but didn’t think I’d ever go through it again after my cousin Travis. He was a great kid, a great young man who had his entire life in front of him. I miss him every day, every single day does not go by that I think of my angel, my cousin. Below is my story of my husband and how I lost him to suicide. As I state in my story, it take one person to help another, to save one life in a room of darkness that someone might be feeling

Kevin Lee – RIP 3/11/2006Not very many people can look me at me and see my story.  They don’t look at the three smiling faces of my daughters and know their inner pain.  They don’t see or know what it feels like to face depression and suicide so close up. They don’t get to answer the question when I explain I’m widowed and have to tell the story.  I lost my husband 5-1/2 years ago to suicide.  I always describe him as a depressed alcoholic living with his inner demons.  I’ve always been a helper…knowing I did everything humanly possible to save this man…I couldn’t help him.  Through this pain and heartache you can take it so many ways. You can fail and let it take you over or you can pull your boot straps up and be thankful for every day that I get out of bed and put my feet on the floor to face my day. Live my day for my three beautiful growing girls who give me my strength…they are my light to a dark tunnel that I have climbed my way out of.

Through this emotional journey of single parenthood and not believing that this is how my marriage of 11 years was ever going to turn out this way, I always believed I was a strong person.  Since birth I was born a preemie at 1 pound 11 ounces and living in the age where the NICU had just been created and beating the odds.  But your strength is tested when on a snowy March day your father coming to you in tears while home visiting saying they had found my husband  in our garage in our home dead from carbon monoxide poisoning…death by suicide.

I remember the shock of it all and the surreal moment of having to tell my oldest daughters that their dad had passed away.  I think back to that day, and my most defining moment of the whole experience was lying in bed that night listening to my daughters breathing as they slept.  The only words I can describe it was listening to these girls breathe, being ALIVE and knowing my husband was no longer breathing.  It was a very sad moment in realization but also a moment where now I know what I have to do. I have to breathe in; breathe out every day for these three children that are now going to be living a different path and my soul purpose in life.

I wanted to share my story as it is a sad one but an emotional one. So those few people that I talk to that are depressed and I help them out I feel a little better knowing I made a difference. I can listen to their problems and getting them help to give them a purpose in life, I want them to see a spirit that they can be grateful for LIFE, and breathing.  You are ALIVE and you are here for a reason.   I tell this story so any woman, man, or teenager that is confronted by a friend or loved one talks about how they are feeling and you get that intuition that this person might need some help…listen to your intuition.

It’s given me a new lease on life, seeing my girls happy and progressing in life as they should. To see their happy, smiling faces it fills my heart.  Living life with the motto life is too short!  I know I have one more angel up there watching down on three beautiful angels down here on earth. It’s a wonderful feeling!

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die today,

Love like there is no tomorrow, Dance like no one is watching.”


Suicide is preventable.

September 9th through 15th is a national suicide prevention week created to educate people about the ways how suicide can be preventable. According to International Association for Suicide Prevention Organization, approximately 1 million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds. Males are three to five times more likely to die by suicide than females. The highest documented rates of suicide are reported in Eastern European countries, such as Lithuania and the Russian Federation.

Many people have misconceptions about suicide. According to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, most common are the following:

  • People who talk about suicide won’t really do it. FALSE
    Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
  • Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy. FALSE
    Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
  • If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them. FALSE
    Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
  • People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help. FALSE
    Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
  • Talking about suicide may give someone the idea. FALSE
    You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts or need someone to talk to, contact the Counseling Center at 701-777-2127.


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