The Effects of Mental Health in Texas State Students

SAN MARCOS– May is Mental Health Awareness month and Texas State students are utilizing resources available on campus to assist with their mental health during finals week. As the Spring 2023 semester comes to an end, students are looking for outlets to relieve their stress, anxiety, and nervousness.

All types of health are interconnected according to SAMHSA’s 8 Dimensions of Wellness. The eight areas include: environmental, emotional, intellectual, physical, occupational, financial, social, and spiritual dimensions.These specific areas of wellbeing have a direct impact on a student’s mental health and overall health if not balanced.

According to a national survey administered to Texas State students, (National College Health Assessment (2023) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2023) 8 Dimensions of Wellness) Texas State ranks higher than the national average in most concerns of mental health across all universities.

Nearly 40,000 students attend Texas State in 2023 and almost one third of students suffered  from anxiety in 2019. Some common reasons that cause students to suffer from anxiety in college include: feeling homesick, managing coursework, social pressures, disordered time management, financial worries, etc. If left untreated, anxiety can often lead to depression which more than one fifth of students experienced at Texas State in 2019.

One student organization that offers guidance to students regarding mental health is HealthyCats. The organization provides information about resources on campus to address mental health concerns among students such as the (1) Student Health Center – access to psychiatric help (Mental Health was the #1 service requested of the SHC in 2021-2022); (2) The Counseling Center that provides brief short-term therapy to students during their academic career; and online resources like (3) Minds Matter and (4) Therapy Assistance Online (TAO).

During their classroom presentations and meetings, HealthyCats covers topics like alcohol and drugs, stress management, and other healthy coping strategies, which contribute to mental health and wellness. Each meeting is focused on various areas and health topics, from environmental health to nutrition. HealthyCats hosts social activities to build community and connect to local causes through service projects. In addition, the organization uses inclusive language to destigmatize mental health and encourage accessing help and resources.

Alicia Rosas, Health Promotion Specialist & HealthyCats Advisor, says that there are more resources to come to assist students with their mental health. 

“I’ve heard that we should be having a 24/7 chat line for students to address mental health concerns in which the university is investing in. It isn’t here yet, but by the fall it should be something we’re implementing at Texas State,” Rosas said.

Recently, Alkek Library hosted an event titled, “Long Night Against Procrastination”. The event took place on Apr. 19th, 2023  in Conference Hall A (room 441) on the 4th floor of the library and lasted from 7pm to 11pm. The purpose of the event was to encourage accountability in students to get work done and meet library staff, share goals, talk about the semester, etc. The event also provided snacks, energy drinks, puzzles, and more for students to enjoy.

Texas State student, Kimberly Montoya, appreciated the offerings provided by the event and invited some of her friends to join. “This event was super beneficial to me. It is refreshing to know that the library staff is supportive of students during stressful times and this is a good way to take a break from school,” Montoya said.

There are other wellness habits that students can practice in college such as exercising, spending time outdoors, reading, journaling, and more. The Student Recreation Center is available for students who would like to maintain their physical health and be active. It is open from 6a.m. to 11p.m. during spring hours and located near the Harris Dining Hall on campus.

Texas State student, Emma Aldrich goes to the student recreation center five times a week and participates in powerlifting competitions. “Ever since I have started incorporating workouts in my daily routine, I feel like my performance in school has improved and it keeps my mental health balanced,” Aldrich said.

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To learn more about more mental health resources at Texas State, students can visit https://mindsmatter.vpsa.txst.edu/ for more information about counseling treatment, emergency resources, health & wellness, and more.

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