Emotional Health


Stress is a part of day to day living. Stress is the "wear and tear" our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environments. As college students you may experience stress meeting academic demands, adjusting to a new living environment, or developing friendships. The stress you experience is not necessarily harmful. Mild forms of stress can act as a motivator and energizer. However, if your stress level is too high, medical, emotional or social problems can result.


Are you or a friend feeling blue?

Everyone feels down and out sometimes, but if several of these symptoms persist in you or someone you know for more than two weeks, they may be symptoms of depression. These can include:

  • Loss of energy and motivation--an overall feeling of fatigue.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities.
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep.
  • Increased irritability.
  • Thoughts of suicide or death.
  • Uncontrollable crying.
  • Changes in appetite or weight.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Feel like the winter doldrums have got you down? Many people experience seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus due to the shortening of daylight hours and the lack of sunlight in winter.

Click here for more information.


Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. These disorders fill people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

To learn more visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml.

Impact of Loss: The Grieving Process

When a loved one/classmate is dying or dies, there is a grieving process. Recovery is a slow and emotionally painful one. The grieving process can be less painful if you try to understand that loss and grief is a natural part of life. Learn to accept your loss and believe in yourself. Believe that you can cope with tragic happenings. Let your experience be a psychological growth process that will help you to deal with future stressful events.

The grieving process usually consists of the following stages. Note that not everyone goes through all these stages.

  • Denial and Shock

At first, it may be difficult for you to accept your own dying or the death of a loved one/classmate. As a result you will deny the reality of death. However, this denial will gradually diminish as you begins to express and share your feelings about death and dying with other students or friends.

  • Anger

During this stage the most common question asked is "why me?". You are angry at what you perceive to be the unfairness of death and you may project and displace your anger unto others. When given some social support and respect, you will eventually become less angry and able to move into the next stage of grieving.

  • Bargaining

Many students try to bargain and offer to give up an enjoyable part of their lives in exchange for the return of health or the lost person.

  • Guilt

You may find yourself feeling guilty for things you did or didn't do prior to the loss. Forgive yourself. Accept your humanness.

  • Depression

You may at first experience a sense of great loss. Mood fluctuations and feelings of isolation and withdrawal may follow. It takes time for you, the grieving student, to gradually return to your old self and become socially involved in what's going on around you.

Please note that encouragement and reassurance to the bereaved student will not be helpful in this stage.

  • Loneliness

As you go through changes in your social life because of the loss, you may feel lonely and afraid. The more you are able to reach out to others and make new friends, the more this feeling lessens.

  • Acceptance

Acceptance does not mean happiness. Instead you accept and deal with the reality of the situation.

  • Hope

Eventually you will reach a point where remembering will be less painful and you can begin to look ahead to the future and more good times.

  • Resources

On Campus Assessment:

  • Counseling Center…….….463-8590
  • Student Health Center……463-4501

Peer Counselors and RAs are also available to help.

Or Call: 1-800-SUICIDE


The Jed Foundation--National organization working to reduce emotional distress and prevent suicide among college students. Lots of helpful information including how to help a friend.

The Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia--Assists universities in Virginia develop a prevention plan and provides resources to campuses.

Half of Us--Half of all college students said they had been so stressed that they couldn't get their work done or enjoy social activities during the last semester. But all of us have the power to take control of our emotional health in order to improve our moods and get the most out of life.

The online behavioral support system--Info on depression, suicide and assessments.

National Institute of Mental Health--Good information and pamphlets.

SADAssociation--Homepage of the Seasonal Affective Disorder organization.

American Institute of Stress

Active Minds--Lots of info on how to get help and helpful links.

University of Buffalo's Counseling Center Web page--lots of good info on stress management, sleep, depression, body image and eating disorders.