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Mental health is top of mind at UMW

As UMW students approach the end of an unprecedented semester, with final exams and holidays on the horizon, practicing self-care and mental wellness is important. Photo courtesy of Dan Hirshberg.
As UMW students approach the end of an unprecedented semester, with final exams and holidays on the horizon, practicing self-care and inquiring about others’ wellbeing is important. Zen Garden photo courtesy of Dan Hirshberg.

“It’s something every single member of our community can do for our students,” said Tevya Zukor, director of University of Mary Washington’s Talley Center for Counseling Services. “That kind of check-in can mean the world to someone who’s feeling isolated and disconnected.”

And who isn’t feeling a little off-course and overwhelmed these days? Especially students. With final exams and the fuss of the upcoming holiday season upon them – not to mention a global pandemic and the aftermath of a divisive election – more first-time mental health service-seekers are turning to the Talley Center. Zukor sees a positive side to the uptick in visitors. Young people are discovering the world of mental health, beginning to build coping strategies and dissolving the stigma around asking for help.

“It’s OK to want support and seek feedback and guidance when we’re not feeling well,” he said. “There’s nothing shameful about seeing someone to help navigate the world. That doesn’t make us flawed; it makes us human.”

A student poses on a giant rock in UMW's Zen garden before COVID-19. Located between Trinkle and Mason halls, the garden is a peaceful outdoor spot for reflection and mindfulness. Photo by Adam Ewing.
A student poses on a rock in the Zen Garden before COVID-19. Between Farmer and Mason halls, the garden is a peaceful spot for reflection and mindfulness. Photo by Adam Ewing.

As the Talley Center works to meet students’ mental health needs – enhancing appointment availability, maintaining support groups and forming an Election Day partnership with the James Farmer Multicultural Center to manage stress and anxiety – others are pitching in, too. The UMW Student Government Association held an hourlong Zoom discussion sponsored by the Rappahannock Area Health District.  And mental health resources and mindfulness training opportunities are cropping up all across campus.

Here’s some of what’s happening:

Talley Center for Counseling Services
Counseling services are being provided by appointment via phone and Zoom. Daily crisis appointments are available. To get connected with services, contact the office at 540-654-1053. The following support groups remain active:
Understanding Self & Others
Adjustment Group
Sleep Improvement/Management
Self-Esteem Group
LGBTQ+ Support Group
Social Anxiety Group

Meet the Talley Center counselors via Instagram videos posted by the Student Government Association.

 

Guest House Mindfulness Based Meditation Practice Workshops, Nov. 18, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Workshops via Zoom provide students a safe space to share thoughts through restorative dialogue and to explore mindfulness meditative practices to reduce stress and anxiety. Sponsored by the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the office of Equity and Access, and led by Oliver and Paulette Johnson, Optimal Health Enterprise.

Bonsai trees symbolize peace and harmony. As UMW students prepare to wrap up a trying semester, mental wellness resources such as the Talley Center for Counseling Services, are available across campus. Photo by Norm Shafer.
Bonsai trees symbolize peace and harmony. As UMW students prepare to wrap up a trying semester, mental wellness resources such as the Talley Center for Counseling Services are available across campus. Photo by Norm Shafer.

 

Eagles in Recovery
Eagles in Recovery is available to all students who need assistance with addiction recovery. The program can also put students in touch with those who can help with active addiction.

Zen Garden
A peaceful outdoor spot for calmness and serenity, located between Farmer and Mason halls.

Positivity Post
The weekly email, a dose of glass-half-fullness, is distributed as a Google document that brims with heartfelt material.

The Meditation Space
Located in the James Farmer Multicultural Center, on the second floor of the University Center, the space provides a supportive and spiritually nourishing environment for students from all backgrounds and cultures to reflect and relax.

Free Meditation Calls with Bill Brooks, Wednesdays, 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. Live guided meditation with Bill Brooks, UMW Campus Recreation yoga and mindfulness instructor.

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