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Mental health and young adults

The transition to college is a time filled with excitement and new possibilities. But this season of life can also be challenging and stressful as you adjust to college and the changes in your life. Stress can develop from academic pressure, relationship changes, lack of sleep, and becoming more independent.

Stress is a normal part of life, but it can affect your mental health and impact not only school, but day to day living. In spring, we collected National College Health Assessment data at WSU Pullman and found in the last year, 86 percent of WSU students felt overwhelmed. Another 64 percent of Cougs expressed they felt very lonely.

Our mental health is how we manage our emotions and cope with stress. Just as we take care of our physical health, we can also care for our mental health. We can all work together to build a supportive campus community.

Cougs can take action to cope when feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or lonely. You can:

  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Participate in activities you enjoy doing
  • Eat a healthy meal
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take breaks from studying to rest and recharge
  • Get a good night of sleep

Every Coug should also be familiar with campus mental health resources. Cougar Health Services provides a free and confidential online mental health screening, which provides recommendations on campus resources to support your mental wellness.

We offer Mental Health First Aid and Campus Connect trainings, where participants learn how to identify mental illnesses, intervene during a crisis, and support themselves and others. WSU also have guides for helping students in distress.

WSU is following the JED approach to develop campus-wide collaboration for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

To receive updates on WSU’s mental health efforts, subscribe to Cougar Health Services News.

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.

Help prevent the spread of lice

If you, or one of your close contacts, is experiencing symptoms of lice, you should be treated immediately. All infested persons including household members and close contacts as well as their bedmates, should be treated at the same time, if possible.

Consider treatment if you have:

  • Shared a bed with someone who has lice
  • Shared a hat, scarf, coat, clothes, hair ribbon, or barrettes
  • Had sex with someone with lice
  • Been in close contact with someone with lice

Lice treatment is available over the counter at the Cougar Health Services pharmacy, or at most local stores like Walmart, Rite Aid and grocery stores. In addition to treatment, the Center for Disease Control recommends taking the following steps and precautions if you or someone in your home has been infested with lice:

  • Wash and Dry in Hot Temperatures. Hats, scarves, pillowcases, bedding, clothing, and towels worn or used by the infested person in the 2-day period before treatment is started, can be machine washed and dried using hot water and hot air cycles. Lice and eggs are killed by exposure of 5 minutes in temperatures greater than 53.5°C (128.3°F).
  • Store and Seal in Plastic Bags. Items that cannot be laundered may be sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
  • Disinfect. Disinfect combs and brushes used by an infested person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes.
  • Do Not Share. Items such as hats, grooming aids, and towels that come in contact with the hair of an infested person should not be shared.
  • Vacuum and Clean. Vacuuming furniture and floors can remove infested persons’ hairs that might have viable nits attached.
  • Perform a Head Lice Check. Research video tutorials on how to perform a head lice check. Share videos with peers.

If you have concerns about a skin condition or reactions to treatment, please contact the Cougar Health Services medical clinic at 509-335-3575.

Flu shots available at the medical clinic

student laying on couch

Are you ready to get your flu shot? Good news: we now have flu vaccine in stock at our medical clinic.

Getting a flu shot each year is the most important step you can take to prevent the flu.

We’ll be holding Flu Shot Fridays every week from September 28 to October 26. You can find more details in this news post about Flu Shot Friday.

Students who want get their flu shots now can make an appointment at the clinic online or by phone at 509-335-3575.

Get stress management tips on your phone

Get stress management tips
Get stress management tips

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

Join our text messaging program and we will:

  • Check in with you every week to see how you’re doing
  • Send you weekly tips for lowering stress
  • Share information about health-related events and resources around campus

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

You can also check out our stress management workshops and other programs.

Violence prevention toolkit for faculty & staff

Violence prevention toolkit for faculty & staff

As faculty and staff, we’re in a unique position to shape the climate of the university. We typically stay in the area and at the university longer, and many of us are in frequent contact with students.

When it comes to violence prevention, there are many ways faculty and staff help set the tone for students. You can play a critical role in efforts to reduce sex- and gender-based violence on campus.

Stalking, intimate partner violence and sexual assault are complex, difficult problems to address and it’s easy to become discouraged.

We firmly believe that while no one can do everything to stop violence, everyone can do something. To get started, check out our toolkit below for ideas and resources you can use in the year ahead.

For faculty

 For all employees

By taking action in our everyday lives, we can all do something to help stop violence on our campus.

Protect yourself from wildfire smoke

photo of WSU Pullman campus with buildings and trees

WSU community members should take precautions to reduce exposure to unhealthy, smoky air.

Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects. Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke.

If you experience any signs of respiratory distress, contact your health care provider. Students can call Cougar Health Services at 509-335-3575.

There are many steps you can take for limiting exposure to unhealthy, smoky air.

Avoid being outdoors. Use public transportation rather than walking or biking.

Stay inside as much as possible. Keep indoor air clean by closing windows, and if possible use an air filter and air conditioning. Make sure your air conditioner’s fresh-air intake is closed and the filter is clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.

Do not add to indoor pollution. Avoid using candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves. Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.

Follow your health care provider’s guidance. If you have asthma or another lung disease, follow your doctor’s advice about medicines and your respiratory management plan.

Wear a mask. Masks can help limit exposure to unhealthy, smoky air. Students can get a free basic mask from the clinic’s waiting and lobby area. The CDC advises against relying solely on basic masks for protection.

Students, faculty, and staff can purchase N95 masks for $1.50 at the Cougar Health Services pharmacy, The Market on Cougar Way, Flix Market, Towers Market, Hillside Market, and Union Market. These masks offer more protection than basic masks.

WSU Environmental Health & Safety has additional resources on wildfire smoke, including a real time map.

Become a peer health educator

Student receiving health screening.
Student receiving health screening.

This fall, our health promotion team is introducing a peer health education program. Peer health educators are a diverse group of undergraduate leaders who work with us to educate and empower their fellow students.

We consistently hear from students who are interested in peer health education programs, and studies show that students view peer health educators as credible and trustworthy sources of information. The program is supported by the Service & Activity Fee and will help increase our collaboration with students.

Students who participate in the program will receive a range of professional development opportunities, including training and hands-on experience. Peer educators will develop leadership and public speaking skills, foster positive working relationships, and gain foundational knowledge in a variety of health topics, including violence prevention, mental health, substance use, and life skills.

The application for becoming a peer health educator is open until August 31. If you are unable to apply this fall, the application for spring semester will re-open in November.

Students who are accepted into the program will receive BACCHUS training and take an exam for their peer educator certification. The program lasts one school year with 30 hours of involvement per semester.

If you have questions about the program, please contact Peyton Prothero.

Make your health a priority

Front entrances of the Washington Building

Your health plays a major role in your success as a student. We provide comprehensive care right here on campus, making it easier for you to get the care you need.

Our highly-skilled health care providers and counselors understand the unique needs of students and offer a wide range of services to support all Cougs.

We’re here for you!

Make sure you’re familiar with our services and the resources we provide.

We hope you have a wonderful year. Stay healthy, Cougs!

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.