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Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Student in dorm at desk writing in notebook.

The mental health impact of this pandemic is very real.  If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed, you are not alone. Most people have never experienced such a large-scale challenge, and this one may affect our mental and physical well-being, our finances, our social connections, and the health and safety of our loved ones.  Isolation, changes in school and employment, and concern about our families and friends can increase feelings of worry, fear, and sadness. It’s even harder to navigate these challenges when we may not have access to our typical coping strategies and ways of practicing self-care.

We’re all learning new ways to cope and adapt to new daily habits and uncertainty about what the future holds. Please check out the resources below for help in developing and maintaining healthy habits, and for information about ways to access help if you need it.

Video: Navigation to Normal

In this video, Navigation to Normal: Readjusting to Life After Lockdown, you’ll hear Counseling Assistant Stephen Paup cover the transition to post-pandemic life. Learn tips to help readjust your social skills, how practicing mindfulness can lead you to focus more on the present, and more!

Video: Mental Health Resources FAQ

In this video, watch Dr. Kate Romine, a psychologist resident with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) , as she gives you a personal roadmap to the mental health resources available at CAPS. This interview, led by former Multicultural Greek Council VP of programming, Jesus Mendoza, describes CAPS services, when to reach out for help, and much more!

Real Talk Thursdays: All WSU Students

Real Talk Thursdays are 30-minute workshops where mental health professionals cover different wellness topics every week. These sessions are free and open to WSU students from all campuses. We’ve wrapped up Spring 2021 sessions but check back next semester for more. In the meantime, check out our YouTube channel for recordings of past sessions.

Coping with COVID: All WSU Students

Coping with COVID is designed to teach students coping skills, how to seek help if needed, and how to provide support to others who may be in distress. This workshop will return at a later date. Check back for details! Also, inquire about a private training for your group.

Tips and Resources from our CAPS Counselors in Cougar Health Services:

Text “@Stress” to 844-486-0046 to get personalized stress management techniques sent to your phone.

We will check in with you occasionally to see how you are doing and we will send you regular tips and reminders for lowering stress, customized to your individual stress level. We have adapted some of our content to be particularly helpful in addressing COVID-19 related stress.

You may also benefit from checking out techniques to cope with worry, stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, outlined by our community partners at Palouse River Counseling (PRC).

Counseling and Psychological Services

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will be providing all services by secure Zoom or telephone. Please call the reception desk at 509-335-4511 during regular business hours to access services, whether you are a current counseling client, current psychiatry client, or a student who wants to start counseling.

Previous Topics

Spring 2021

  • January 28 – Self-Care During COVID: Using the 5 Senses
  • February 4 – Going from Ally to Advocate: Standing with the BIPOC Community | Watch
  • February 11 – Dating (Safely) During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Watch
  • February 18 – What’s Your Relationship Attachment Style? | Watch
  • March 4 – How to Advocate for Yourself: From the Classroom to Personal Life | Watch
  • March 11 – How Important is Sleep, Really?
  • March 25 – Unhealthy vs. Healthy Relationship Communication
  • April 1 – Staying Motivated Through Zoom Fatigue
  • April 8 – Living Life for Yourself (Not Just Everyone Else)
  • April 15 – Let’s Take a Break! (Relaxation Skills)

Fall 2020

  • What’s Your Pandemic Attachment Style in Relationships? – October 1 | Watch
  • Virtually Social: Making Connections at a Distance – October 8
  • ACTivism: Being an Ally on Social Media and IRL – October 15 | Watch
  • (Un)Healthy: Signs of a Healthy vs. Toxic Relationships – October 22 | Watch
  • Tell Me Something Good! Building Healthy Positivity – October 29 | Watch
  • Managing Pre-Election Stress – October 29 | Watch
  • I Need My Space! The Stress of Staying at Home – November 5 | Watch
  • Navigating Post-Election Reactions – November 5
  • Normal Reactions to Abnormal Events – November 12 | Watch
  • Let’s Take a Breather- Relaxation During Times of Stress – November 19 | Watch

Spring 2020

  • Coping Through the Covid-19 Pandemic – April 3
  • Pain of Missing Out (POMO) in the Pandemic – April 10
  • I Need My Space!” The Stress of Staying Home and How to Cope – April 1

Mental Well Being – Time Management

illustration of student alone in room working at a desktop computer with icons of a clock and calendar indicating a busy life

As school and work transitions to a virtual environment, it can take time to adjust to a new schedule. As you make this transition to studying and working for home, there are different things you can do to be intentional with your time.

What You Can Do

  • Plan ahead by creating a daily and/or weekly schedule
    • Fill a calendar or planner with due dates for the rest of the semester
    • Schedule in time for reading, study, and completing assignments
    • Also schedule in time for non-school related things such as time with your pet
  • Focus on one task at a time and set time limits for each task
  • Prepare your workspace
    • Find a comfortable, well-lit place to complete your work and studies
    • Make sure you have the office supplies and technology you need to work from home
  • Block distractions
    • Turn off social media
    • Try using a timer app such as the Focus Keeper or Flora
  • Take breaks and reward yourself (ex: watch your favorite show, engage in some leisurely fun, get active)
  • Stay hydrated and eat regular meals
    • Use down time to meal prep for the week
  • Be early to online meetings to plan for potential technology problems
  • Leave buffer time in your schedule so your tasks aren’t back to back

General Resources

WSU Resources

Mental Well Being – Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships 

Maintaining healthy relationships is vital to every aspect of our wellness (physical, mental, emotional, etc.). Connecting with friends and family members in a positive and healthy way allows us to grow as human beings, all while helping and supporting the growth of others.

What You Can Do

  • Stay connected through phone calls and video chats
  • If you live with your significant other, give each other some space so as not to get on each other’s nerves
  • Play a low-stress game (low level of competitiveness)
  • Watch a lighthearted movie
  • Do separate activities but in the same room together
  • Consider calling a truce on arguments to make living under one roof bearable
  • Have virtual date nights (dinner, glass of wine, candles, etc.)
  • Take a walk by yourself to lighten up any tension and to give each other some space

General Resources

WSU Resources

Mental Well Being – Physical & Mental Wellness

Physical/Mental Wellness

Taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing are important to stay healthy and manage stress during this time.

What You Can Do

  • Set a limit on how much time you check the news for updates
    • It is ok to stay up to date on news of COVID-19, especially if you have loved ones in places where people have gotten sick. It is also important to have limits on how much time you spend reading or watching news updates – the more you are exposed to news updates, the more your stress can increase.
  • Connect with friends, loved ones, and others in your support system
    • Talk about your feelings
    • Listen to others if they need to talk
    • Respect others who need time alone
  • Practice self-care
  • Help others in your community
  • Stay physically active
    • Take short breaks throughout the day instead of sitting for long periods of time
    • Try out a virtual workout
    • Go on a walk
    • Remember to stay hydrated

General Resources

WSU Resources

Mental Well Being – Stress Management

Student working at desktop computer with many windows open on the screen and text bubbles and emails hovering around the computer.

Anxiety, loneliness, stress, and isolation are normal to experience right now. However, feeling stressed or anxious can negatively impact your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health over time. It is important to know how to cope with stress in healthy ways and to know where you can get support.

What You Can Do

  • Recognize your stress
  • Keep yourself healthy
    • Eat, drink, and sleep regularly
    • Do physical exercise, such as using UREC’s virtual workouts.
    • Reduce caffeine and alcohol
  • Take time to relax in ways that works best for you
    • Take deep breaths
    • Go on a walk
    • Stretch
    • Meditate
    • Enjoy fun hobbies
    • Read a good book
    • Listen to music
  • Create a structure for your day
    • Keep a calendar
    • Set up a routine for your day
    • Schedule in time for breaks and self-care
    • Be mindful of others you live with, whether family or roommates

General Resources

WSU Resources

WSU Monitoring 2019 Novel Coronavirus

The health of the Cougar community is our priority. We want to provide accurate resources for current information and preventative tips to help minimize the spread of illness. Updates that are specific to the WSU community will be provided on the Cougar Health Services website.

We are working with Whitman County Public Health and other University leadership to monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. Current information about the coronavirus is provided by the CDC

What is this novel coronavirus (2019‑nCoV)?

2019‑nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS‑CoV and SARS‑CoV, have caused severe illness.

What is the risk?

The CDC considers this new virus a serious public health threat. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.

That said, the CDC considers the immediate health risk from 2019‑nCoV to the general American public to be low at this time. There are no confirmed cases among WSU community members.

As of January 31, 2020, there are only six confirmed cases in the United States, one of which is in Snohomish County and is unrelated to WSU.

Information about the symptoms, transmission and treatment for 2019‑nCoV is available on the CDC webpage.

Can you travel to or from China?

The CDC has issued a level 3 warning for travel to China and recommends avoiding all non‑essential travel to China. The U.S. Department of State updated its China Travel Advisory on January 30, 2020, to “Do Not Travel” to China.

Accordingly, we ask that members of the WSU community not travel to China, until such time as the CDC and Department of State downgrade their travel advisories.

If you must travel to China:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their health care provider.

In addition, if you must travel to China, register your travel through WSU’s international travel insurance. By registering your travel, emergency assistance is more readily available and you will have access to specific risk information about your destination(s).

What are the best prevention measures?

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus. The CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Where is WSU posting information about the 2019‑nCoV outbreak?

Updates and additional information are available on the Cougar Health Services website.

If you have questions about travel to or from China, please contact Global Services in International Programs: ip.globalservices@wsu.edu; 509‑335‑4508.

If you have personal medical questions, please contact your medical provider.

 

AS A REMINDER, WE ARE STILL IN AN ACTIVE FLU SEASON:

The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. For students, Cougar Health Services still has flu vaccines available. Schedule an appointment for a flu shot by calling 509-335-3575.

For more information about the Coronavirus, international travel safety, the seasonal flu, and ways to stay healthy, please visit the following links:

 

Get your flu vaccine!

Get your flu vaccine

Flu season is approaching fast! You can prevent the flu by getting your flu vaccine at one of our Flu Shot Friday events or by making an appointment with your health care provider.
It’s important that you get your flu shot early in the season. After getting a flu vaccine, it takes about two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that will protect you from flu virus.

Flu Shot Fridays 2018

Every Friday from September 28 to October 26 *
10 am — 3 pm
Washington Building, ground floor entrance

* Additional flu vaccine outreach will occur on Thursday, October 11 and will be hosted in Bustad Hall 110J, 10:30-1:30

Flu Shot Fridays are open to WSU students, faculty, and staff. We won’t be able to give the vaccine to those who are pregnant or under age 18.

Show up early if you can! We’re giving away free thermometers to the first 150 students each Friday.

Can’t make it to a Flu Shot Friday or want your shot sooner? Flu vaccines are available now in our clinic. Students can make an appointment to get a flu shot.

Cost

Flu shots are covered in full by most insurance plans. If you don’t have insurance or are concerned about costs, we’re here to help you! Contact our billing office at 509-335-3575.

Make sure to bring your insurance card! We won’t be taking payment at the time of service for Flu Shot Fridays, but we’ll get your insurance information for billing.

Parking options

We’ll have some parking spaces reserved in the green lot at Stadium Way and SE Nevada St. for Flu Shot Fridays. Reserved spaces will be marked with orange cones. Metered parking spots are available on NE Washington St.

There are also a number of zoned parking lots available nearby for permit holders. For a detailed parking map, visit Transportation Services. Our building is also easily accessible via public transit. Visit Pullman Transit for routes and schedules.

Services covered by health fee

Services covered by health fee

Updated April 2021

Students who pay the health fee receive access to a range of services at no additional cost, including: