OK to de-stress

During finals week, students should try to take breaks, eat healthy and get enough sleep.

With a column this week that addresses the state of mental health on college campuses, and with a recent suicide at the University of Pennsylvania, we wanted to talk about stress.

Finals week is coming up, which for some will bring crushing deadlines for papers and projects and studying for tests.

The recent incident at Penn, where a student jumped in front of a train on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line, has renewed scrutiny at the university about its steps to improve the mental health and well-being of students.

Finals week also is known as a busy time for mental health counseling services on college campuses, the New York Times reported last year. But other students may not seek help, our columnist reports.

“They might feel uncomfortable or ashamed, or see getting help or telling people about it is a sign of weakness. Some students may not know they even have a problem,” said Allison Herman, the mental well-being program coordinator at the Wellness Resource Center.

Tuttleman Counseling Services can offer support for anxiety, and there’s no shame in asking for it: in fact, it’s a common treatment. One in six college students were treated for anxiety between May 2014 and 2015, according to the aforementioned New York Times report.

Active Minds—an organization raising awareness about mental health issues among college students—recommends making a plan for studying, developing relaxation techniques and leaning on friends and family for support.

It’s important for students to complete assignments to the best of their abilities, but it’s just as important to make sure they take care of themselves and avoid unhealthy habits like sleep deprivation, excessive caffeine consumption and forgoing self-care.

Don’t be afraid to take a few minutes away from your work, for yourself and encourage others to continue to take care of themselves, too.

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