Campus experts reflect on mental health during midterms

Students can access many different mental health resources during stressful “transition” periods, experts said.

The most stressful parts associated with a college semester are the two weeks before school, the first week of school, midterms and finals, said Susan Hogan Willson, a student service coordinator at Temple University Disability Resources and Services.

“All of these are times of transitions,” Willson said. “Preparing for a big exam or combining a whole bunch of complex ideas are things people maybe haven’t done before. It is a learned skill to be able to navigate their work and management their time, and I think that really impacts students.”

It is important for students to recognize these especially periods of their time at school, and that they can access on-campus resources to help alleviate stress they cause, campus advocates and experts said.

The Wellness Resource Center is an on-campus facility that teaches time management and other skills to help prevent stress in college. By providing information, coping skills and interactive programs, such as their peer-education program. They even sell condoms and other sex safe products. The WRC’s goal is to empower students to be proactive in caring for themselves.

“College poses a unique challenge because it’s a time where there is a lot of stress from school on top of everything else,” said Janie Egan, the mental well-being program coordinator for the WRC.

DRS also promotes the mental welfare of students who seek help. The DRS offers registered students support plans for work and accommodations for tests or assignments. To register, a student must provide documentation and consult a DRS employee about appropriate accommodations. 

Mental health and counseling resources at Temple and in Philadelphia

Students who are not registered with DRS can still benefit from its services. Willson said non-registered students can attend “walk-in” hours at The Rad Dish Cafe, receive peer mentoring or be redirected to other better suited on-campus service for their needs.

“If they’re experiencing anything that is a barrier to their success in a classroom, then they should talk to us about that because we can help remove the barrier,” Willson said.

To be evaluated for a specific mental health diagnosis or medication, students can visit Student Health Services on Broad Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue. In some cases, SHS may refer a student to Tuttleman Counseling Services or an on-site nutritionist. 

Dr. Maria Pellecchia, the assistant clinical director of SHS, said she recommends each individual finds their own self-care routine. She suggested paying special attention to sleeping, dieting, staying away from drugs and alcohol and creating lifelong coping skills that students can use after their time at Temple. 

“Sometimes we forget about the lifelong coping mechanisms because we just focus on just a semester at a time,” Pellecchia said. 

Above anything, she encourages students to reach out for help.

“It’s very important for that individual to understand how stress affects him or her,” Pellecchia said. “Everybody experiences stress at a different level.” 

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