Hawk Life with Laurie–October 31, 2016

Be kind to your mind…

A big “thank you” to Dr. Cara Halgren, Associate Vice President & Dean of Students, for providing input and a list of resources which have been incorporated into this week’s blog post.

This week I would like to approach a topic that is not easy to discuss but, given my background in health and wellness, I feel it is an important subject and I believe that it deserves its own dedicated post—mental health.  As a society we are beginning to demystify mental illness and break down the stigmas that are often associated with mental health and depression–but we still have a ways to go.  Seeking help is often difficult but it is the smart thing to do and it is becoming more socially acceptable.  We should think of it as preventative medicine for the mind.

As student affairs professionals, we may find ourselves in situations with students who are having difficulty adjusting to their new life at UND or are having a tough time getting back into the groove of college life.  It is important for us to recognize warning signs, keeping in mind that often these signs are subtle.  We want to know what to say and do or where to direct those students and how to best assist them. Our very own University Counseling Center (UCC) offers one-on-one and group counseling.  The staff at UCC are professionally trained and certified to assist with a wide variety of mental health-related issues including anxiety, depression, relationships, and stress-management.  When referring students to UCC please keep in mind that they welcome appointments but also accept walk-ins.  For other resources offered by UCC and to gain more knowledge about warning signs and what to do if you suspect a student needs help, please call the staff at UCC at 777-2127 or visit their website at http://und.edu/health-wellness/counseling-center/.  Another terrific resource right here in our own division is the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities (OSRR).   Students are welcome in the OSRR and may go to that office to discuss their concerns.  OSRR staff are trained to assist in problem solving and may assist struggling students with identifying appropriate services to get them the assistance they need to be successful.  The staff in OSRR collaborate with various other offices across campus and are well-versed in making appropriate referrals for students.  You can contact the OSRR at 777-2664 or learn more about what they offer by visiting their website at http://und.edu/student-affairs/student-rights-responsibilities/.

We all know we need to eat right, exercise regularly and get adequate rest to feel good and be at our best but we do not always think about our emotional health.  At the risk of sounding like a flight attendant, we must secure our own masks before assisting others.  What I mean is that as employees it is important to recognize and attend to our own needs, too.  In order for us to do our best work and to be there for our students, we need to take stock of how we are feeling and recognize when we need to take time for ourselves—admittedly this is not always as easy to do nor are the signs as obvious as the sniffles or a stomach ache.  Maybe our fuse is shorter, maybe we are crying more easily or we could just be feeling “off”.  We need to recognize these as legitimate symptoms and causes for concern, too.  As UND employees we have resources available to us, as well.  The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a great benefit we receive as employees of UND.  They offer confidential assessment, counseling, and referral services.  These services are extended to our immediate family members, too.  To learn more or contact EAP go to http://und.edu/finance-operations/human-resources-payroll/human-resources/benefits/eap-program.cfm.  Sometimes in the chaos of everyday life and all we are doing to keep our students healthy we forget to take care of ourselves.  Please remember to take care of your whole self—body, mind, and spirit.

Now, to spotlight a couple of everyday superhero staff members who are here daily doing the important work in the field of mental health…


Let’s go Fighting Hawks!



If you know of a Student Affairs Everyday Superhero staff member you would like to nominate, contact our office at 777-2724 or email Rachel.Osowski.1@UND.edu.