Counseling Health and Wellness Center

Counseling and Health Resources

Suicide Prevention Resources


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Mindfulness for Self-Care

Why do college students need ways to manage stress?

       Psychological disorders and stress-related problems are highly prevalent in the college student population. National studies have revealed the following:

  • “More than 80% of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year and 45% have felt things were hopeless” (American College Health Association, 2013).
  • “Mental health issues in the college student population, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, are associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of college” (Eisenberg et al., 2009).

mental illness in college students

       With the overwhelming extent of demands that are placed on college students, they often forget or don’t make time for healthy self-care practices. What students don’t realize is the importance of taking care of their own mental and physical well-being and the benefits that come along with it. Putting aside time for these practices can improve functioning in many different aspects (Canby et al., 2015). In addition to enhancing physical and mental well-being, it can have positive affects in other areas as well, such as in academics and employment.

       Mindfulness is one form of self-care that can be utilized. Mindfulness has gained popularity over recent years for many reasons. Mental health care professionals have studied the benefits of practicing mindfulness regularly and have discovered an abundance of evidence for the positive effects it has had on individuals. One reason mindfulness can become so appealing- especially for busy college students- is the fact that the skills can be used at any time, no matter where you are!

What is Mindfulness?

  • “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment-to-moment” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
  • “The repetitive act of directing your attention to only one thing in this one moment means training your mind to pay attention to what you choose to pay attention to instead of letting your mind hijack you” (Sanderson, 2012).

     Mindfulness is a skill that everyone can learn with practice. It encourages you to become more aware of your internal and external experiences in the present moment, from a nonjudgmental standpoint. This means observing your experiences and paying attention to them without judging these experiences as good or bad.

What are the benefits of Mindfulness?

      Learning to be mindful and accepting helps to develop resilience skills that can prevent a wide range of problems and difficulties. Something important to be aware of is that mindfulness can be beneficial to everyone, not only to those who suffer from mental health disorders. In addition, it is a form of self-care and helps prevent burnout while enhancing one’s sense of accomplishment. Clinical studies have found that some of the benefits of practicing mindfulness on a regular basis include:

Well Being and Mental Health                                                          

  • Boosts working memory                                                        
  • Relieves rumination                                                               
  • Stress reduction                                                                     
  • Creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events                     
  • Relieves depression
  • Relieves eating disorders
  • Helps with substance abuse
  • Relieves anxiety disorders


  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve sleep
  • Alleviate stomach difficulties


  • Become more efficient                                                                      
  • Staying on task                                                                                  
  • Helps communication                                                            
  • Inspire ideas                                                                           
  • Increase energy levels


  • Increase capacity for learning
  • Develop observation skills
  • Emotional development
  • Improve concentration

…And so much more!    Visit for more information.


Below is a list of some of the resources that can be utilized to begin practicing:

  • Breathe2Relax

Breathe2Relax is an app that helps users learn “deep breathing” skills that are effective in stress management. This app is available for free for iPhone and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:


  • Insight Timer

Insight Timer is an app that provides users with a variety of resources including 4,889 FREE guided meditations, music, talks, and courses. This app is the most popular free meditation app in for both iPhone and Android phones.  

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or visit online at:


  • Mindfulness Coach

Mindfulness Coach is an app that offers information about mindfulness, mindfulness exercises, and provides users with a log to help track and optimize their practice. This app is available for free for iPhones.

iTunes website:

Smiling Mind (10 weeks based on age group)

Smiling Mind is an app that provides users with different programs based on their age group. The adult program consists of 10 modules with 42 sessions of mindfulness training and guided meditations. This app is available for free on iPhone and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more from the Smiling Mind website:

  • Stop, Breathe, & Think

Stop, Breathe, & Think provides users with helpful tools, including guided mindfulness meditation that is organized into a list based on topics and amount of time each one takes to complete. In addition, it provides logs that track your progress. This app is available for free download on iPhones and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more at:

  • Happify

Happify provides users with games, tools, and activities to help reduce stress an anxiety. Developers of this resource utilized evidence based practices of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy to create tools that are easily accessible to its users. Happify offers a variety of free programs, but also offers a Plus Membership option in which costs vary. Happify is available for download for iPhones and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more at:

  • Calm

Calm provides users with guided mindfulness and meditation exercises to help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and promote happiness. This app is free and available for download on both iPhones and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more at:

  • Mindfulness Daily (21 day mindfulness exercises)

Mindfulness Daily provides users with access to daily mindfulness routines that can be completed in less than 15 minutes per day. This app is available for $1.99 for iPhone.

iTunes website:

  • Headspace

HeadSpace guides users through brief (10-minute) mindful meditations. You can download this app on an iPhone or Android phone. This app provides users with a free 10-day trial program. After the trial period, it costs $12.99 per month.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:


  • Palouse Mindfulness: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

This website provides free training through an 8-week online course created by a certified MBSR instructor and professional psychologist. On this website, you will find a week-by-week guide of MBSR through the use of videos, readings, and guided practices.



American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2013. Linthicum, MD: American College Health Association; 2013.

Canby, N. K., Cameron, I. M., Calhoun, A. T., & Buchanan, G. M. (2015). A brief mindfulness intervention for healthy college students and its effects on psychological distress, self-control, meta-mood, and subjective vitality. Mindfulness, 6(5), 1071-1081.

Eisenberg, Daniel; Golberstein, Ezra; and Hunt, Justin B. (2009). Mental Health and Academic Success in College, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 9 : Iss. 1 (Contributions), Article 40.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice,10, 144–156. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bpg016.

Sanderson, C. (2012). Mindfulness for clients, their friends, and family members. Retrieved from

Social Service Referrals

Social Service Referrals

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Gender Affirming Health Care

Statement of Care for Students Identifying as Transgender

The Counseling Health & Wellness Center is committed to creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all students.  Our center is committed to serving the needs of students who identify as transgender, gender queer or gender non-conforming.  Providing a safe, welcoming and culturally appropriate clinic environment is essential to ensure that transgender people not only seek care, but also return for follow up.  In accordance with current ACHA guidelines (2015) for promoting Trans-Inclusive College Health Programs, the CHWC ensures that our programs, staff and services meet the following key components in providing gender affirmative care:


Creating a safe and welcoming clinic environment:  The CHWC annually reviews all patient spaces, waiting areas, handouts, décor, and publications to ensure that transgender affirmative messaging, health information and resources are readily available to students before, during and after their visits to the center.  A gender-neutral bathroom is available and identified in the student waiting area.


Access: The CHWC identifies the Charge Nurse as the designated advocate and liaison for all students identifying as transgender that are seeking medical services.  Students seeking mental health services can request to meet with our designated Counselor Advocate for a consult visit.  The Charge Nurse or Counselor Advocate can arrange to meet with the student, complete an initial consult of the presenting concerns and arrange for any referrals appropriate to the student’s care.

 The CHWC maintains a local database of medical, social service and mental health agencies that offer specialized treatment services for transgender identified students.  The Wellness Coordinator maintains responsibility for keeping the database current and reaching out to area service providers to ensure availability of services.  The database is maintained on the K drive, is available via departmental brochure and accessible via our webpage. 

 Students experiencing a concern with access or quality of care with the CHWC can utilize the Patient Advocate as a starting point to address the matter, and if that concern is not satisfactorily met, the student can be recommended to use the grievance procedure as overseen by the Associate Director of the CHWC.


Health Insurance: The CHWC recognizes that access to health insurance coverage is a significant factor in the successful referral of students to care.  The CHWC’s Wellness Coordinator can assist students in applying for coverage through the ACA marketplace or with the state’s Medicaid programs.  If a student has insurance, the Wellness Coordinator or Patient Advocate can assist the student to confirm what services or participating providers are covered.


Medical Records & Health Informatics:  Standardized forms available in paper formats or electronically that collect patient information about gender identity will use a two-step questionnaire item; one asking about sex assigned at birth, and one asking for current gender identity as identified in Guidelines for the Primary and Gender-Affirming Care of Transgender and Gender Non-binary People (2016, p. 17).  All patient forms will also allow the student to write in a legal name and/or preferred name at the time of initial visit with our center.  The EMR allows patient identification specifiers to be added at intake to ensure that patients are consistently checked in and addressed by their preferred names and pronouns.  All requests made by students for changes in preferred name, sex, or gender identity must be immediately forwarded to the CHWC administration to update the EMR record.  Students requesting a permanent legal name change with the university will be referred to the University Registrar for assistance. 


Staff Training:  Creating affirming spaces to welcome and serve students in a culturally competent environment begins with training staff that are initial points of contact. All staff of the CHWC are required to participate in training that promotes awareness of Trans-identities, basic terminology used by the Trans community, and in how to engage students in discussion about their identity preferences and needs for treatment.  Opportunities for learning are ongoing. Key service providers including the Patient Advocate/Liaisons and Wellness Coordinator will participate in training more frequently and return to train or disseminate information among the rest of the staff. The consistent use of appropriate pronouns and name is an important step toward creating a culturally competent and welcoming environment. The staff of the CHWC will model appropriate use of names and pronouns in the presence of students, families and colleagues.


Scope of Practice for Mental Health Services:  The CHWC recognizes that mental health professionals play an important role in helping students learn to articulate their gender experience in terms of developing their sense of identity.  Therapists can help students develop strategies around disclosure, self-acceptance, and integration of transgender identity, intimate partnerships, and social transition if that is a goal for treatment. Counselors can help students cope with the psychological effects of gender-affirming hormones, and/or surgery or determine when a mental health specialist, group or medical referral is appropriate for consultation or continued treatment.  Mental health counselors can also play a role in providing psychoeducation to family members or the campus community as needed.


Scope of Practice for Medical Services:  The primary role of medical services at the CHWC is to provide primary healthcare and the full time medical staff are trained clinical generalists.   As such, the CHWC does not provide specialty services such as hormone suppressing drugs, gender reassignment surgery, or immediate post-surgery care.  The staff is available to provide primary care consultation, examination, diagnostic labs, referrals and coordination of care with transgender care specialists in the community, as well as provide general primary care information and education to all students on the gender spectrum.


Health Promotion:  The Wellness Coordinator will serve as the staff liaison.  This staff member will research and inform the Director so that staff have multiple training opportunities to maintain cultural competence.  The Wellness Coordinator will ensure that the database is updated and services are available.  At the discretion of the Director, the Wellness Coordinator will provide inclusive outreach, program evaluation, and health education.  The Wellness Coordinator will develop partnerships with students from the LGBTQA community to enhance and inform program practices of the CHWC.

 Transgender Health Brochure_Page_1Transgender Health Brochure_Page_2



 American College Health Association. (2015) ACHA Guidelines for Trans-Inclusive College Health Programs.  Hanover, Maryland:

 Deutsch, M., M.D. (2016) Guidelines for the Primary and Gender Affirming Care of Transgender and Gender Non-binary People. University of California at San Francisco: Department of Family and Community Medicine. Second Edition.