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New mental health promotion specialist

Earlier this month, we hired a new mental health promotion and suicide prevention specialist, Nikita Alimohammad. Nikita previously worked on our team as a health educator, and will now lead suicide prevention efforts on campus, including coordination for our grant work. This includes SAMHSA’s Garrett Lee Smith Grant and the JED Foundation campus program.

We created the specialist role two years ago as part of WSU’s focus on mental health and suicide prevention. The position was vacant for the majority of the 2017-2018 school year, and filling the role will help us build on previous success in promoting mental health on campus.

In her new role, Nikita will collaborate with campus partners on our community-based approach to mental health promotion. She will analyze collected data and feedback to identify high-risk student populations and improve health promotion student outreach trainings.  One of her first projects will be coordinating the Healthy Minds study, an online survey conducted every year to collect information on student mental health.

Nikita earned her bachelor’s degree in health sciences with a focus in administration and management from California State University, East Bay. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in public health at San Diego State University.

In her previous role as a health educator, Nikita led Mental Health First Aid trainings and supported our IMPACT program and student reinstatement and enrichment workshops.

New name, fully integrated health services

We’re excited to announce Health & Wellness Services and Counseling and Psychological Services have officially integrated under the name Cougar Health Services.

This change reflects our model of student-centered, integrated health services on campus, as well as our staff’s hard work over many years to improve collaboration, streamline processes, and ultimately provide better health and well-being services for students.

As part of this process, we’re merging our electronic health records over the summer. Maintaining one central record for each student will help us provide seamless care across all of our services. We can welcome each student with a full understanding of their health history and the care they’ve already received from us, regardless of which service they used first.

Updated Cougar Health Services materials are available upon request for WSU departments and groups.

Meet our new medical director

Dr. Bonnie de Vries

Our new medical director, Bonnie de Vries, MD, MS, begins work this week. In this role, Dr. de Vries will oversee medical clinic operations and collaborate with partners in Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and throughout WSU to support student health and safety. Dr. de Vries will take on both administrative and clinical responsibilities, opening up additional physician availability for patient appointments.

We invite the WSU community to join us as Dr. de Vries shares her vision for the future of university health services on April 9 from 4-5 p.m. The event will take place in the Health Promotion Peer Education Training Room G41, located in the ground floor entrance of the Washington building. Please RSVP to Melissa Painter at melissa.norton@wsu.edu.

Dr. de Vries is a board-certified family physician with a background in quality improvement and practice transformation. Dr. de Vries earned her medical degree from Albany Medical College, and completed her residency at Maine Medical Center, where she also studied integrative medicine.

In addition, she earned a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Columbia University, during which she did clinical HIV research at Harlem Hospital.

Most recently, Dr. de Vries practiced at Southern Maine Health Care, where she successfully led an innovative Advanced Primary Care initiative to create a culture of team-based care, population health, and physician retention.

She also served as the only family physician on the Medical Executive Committee; and completed professional certification through the Hanley Center’s Physician Executive Leadership Institute.

Dr. de Vries was also an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of New England (UNE) College of Osteopathic Medicine, teaching case analysis and team-based learning to future physicians.

Take action to prevent violence

group of students

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and WSU students are ready to take action to prevent violence!

According to 2016 climate assessment data, 67 percent of WSU students feel confident in their ability to take action to reduce interpersonal violence. When asked why they would take action, 78 percent said they feel it’s their responsibility to make people in their community safer.

We’re clearly committed to helping one another! But it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to taking concrete action. What can we do to help? How can we make a real difference?

At Health & Wellness Services, we believe that every single one of us can help make our community safer. One person can’t do everything, but we can all do something. Here are some simple ways you can get involved in addressing violence in our community this month (and throughout the rest of the year!)

  1. Read our blog post about how you can support survivors of sexual assault.
  2. Make sure you know WSU’s Executive Policy #15 prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct.
  3. Get familiar with confidential and university resources
  4. Request a resource poster or print a message of support to hang in your hall, classroom, or Greek residence.
  5. Add Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse’s 24- hour emergency and support service phone number for survivors of family and sexual violence to your contacts: 1-877-334-2887.
  6. Visit the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs for tools and materials you can personalize and use for social media and events.
  7. Check out #SAAM on your social media of choice to find info and resources you can share with friends and family.
  8. Follow  Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse on Facebook for more info on violence prevention efforts in our community.
  9. Attend a Green Dot bystander training and learn how to safely intervene in a potentially dangerous situation and prevent violence from happening.
  10. Sign up for updates on violence prevention and other health news and resources.

These are just a few ways each of us can take action, and get connected to helpful resources in our community. If we work together, we can put an end to violence and make our campus a safer place.

Mom’s weekend vision sale

Three WSU students wearing Nike sunglasses

Join our vision clinic for a special Mom’s Weekend sale event! Students get 25 percent off any frames or sunglasses in stock.

Sale dates
Friday, April 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 7th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Visit us in the Washington building to try on the latest spring styles, enjoy snacks, and enter a drawing for $100 off your purchase!

We carry a large selection of designer frames and sunglasses including Ray-Ban, TOM FORD, TOMS, GUESS, Nike, Longchamp, and more.

For questions about the sale or our vision care services, contact the vision clinic.

Get your mental wellness checkup

student hands typing on keyboard
student hands typing on a computer keyboard

Mental health is a key part of your overall health and well-being. You can use a brief online screening to check in on your mental wellness and see if you should connect with a mental health professional.

Get an online mental wellness checkup today!

It’s free and completely confidential. Immediately following the brief questionnaire, you will see your results, recommendations, and information on university and community support resources.

Need help right now? Counseling and Psychological Services is available 24/7 at 509-335-4511.

Sale on TOMS glasses and sunglasses

Three students against a yellow wall wearing TOMS brand eyewear

Join our vision clinic for a special sale event just for WSU students!

TOMS eyewear sale event
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
10:00 am – 3:00 pm
CUE Atrium

We’ll have over 200 styles of TOMS glasses and sunglasses available to try on and purchase. Get a 25 percent discount and enter to win a free pair of frames, tote, t-shirt, and more!

For any questions about the sale or our vision care services, contact our vision clinic.

Protect yourself from flu

girl using hand sanitizer

We’re in the middle of a very active flu season and we’re starting to see cases of influenza at our medical clinic. Here’s how you can protect yourself from the flu and get the care you need!

Know the symptoms

Make sure you know the symptoms of flu and cold, and when to see a health care provider. Remember that flu viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.

If you feel sick, stay home

You might not want to miss class, work, or other responsibilities, but the most important thing you can do is rest and avoid spreading germs to others.

According to the university policy on absences, instructors cannot require written excuses from health care professionals. If your instructor asks for a note, you can provide the HWS letter on excused student absences.

Get medical care

You can make an appointment at our medical clinic online or over the phone. Keep in mind that our same-day appointments are limited due to short-staffing. If you need or want to seek care from a community provider, we can help you with referrals and questions.

You can also call our main line at 509-335-3575 for 24/7 advice from nursing staff. When the clinic is closed, your call will be directed to a nurse at Harborview Medical Center.

If you have mild cold or flu symptoms, check out our guide on managing symptoms at home.

Protect yourself from flu

Try to avoid spreading germs and practice healthy habits for preventing flu. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time! The peak of flu season can run through March, and flu activity can continue until May.

Flu shots are covered in full by most insurances. Check with your insurance provider for details on your coverage and where to go. You can check with our clinic on our flu shot supplies and make an appointment by calling 509-335-3575.

Online mental health screening coming soon

student smiling looking at mobile phone

Coming soon, Health & Wellness Services will have an online mental health screening available to WSU students.

Brief screenings are the quickest way to determine if you should connect with a mental health professional – it’s like a checkup from the neck up.

Mental health concerns are common. For example, a 2016 survey of WSU students found that within the past 12 months, 56.1 percent of Cougs reported feeling overwhelming anxiety at some point and 34.8 percent of Cougs felt so depressed that it was difficult to function (ACHA-NCHA, 2016).

While many students experience a mental health concern, they may be unsure if they need help or where to go for support. By making the mental health screening available, we hope to encourage Cougs to get help if they need it.

The program is free of charge, accessible online, and completely anonymous. At the end of the screening, students will get their results, recommendations, and information on local support resources.

By offering the screening, we’ll make progress towards fulfilling our SAMSHA Grant and JED Foundation goals of informing Cougs about mental health support services and decreasing stigma around mental health.

To promote the program, we collaborated with a team of students in the Murrow College of Communication. We’ll be using their research and suggestions as we implement this screening.

We purchased our screening program from Screening for Mental Health, Inc. If you would like to learn more about the mental health screening and stay up to date on mental health promotion and suicide prevention, you can subscribe to receive email updates.

Stressed? We can help!

stressed college student looking at her phone

Feeling stressed, need help coping, or just want tips for managing your stress? We can help!

Join our text messaging program and we will:

  • Send you weekly tips for lowering stress
  • Check in to see how you’re doing
  • Share information about resources around campus

To sign up, text “STRESS” to 30644. You can join at any point in the semester!