When it comes to mental health on college campuses, the proof that students are struggling maybe more than ever is in the research.
More than 60% of college students met the criteria to check the box for at least one mental health issues, according to the Health Minds Study of 373 campuses nationwide. Similarly, the National College Health Assessment found that nearly 75% of students admitted moderate or severe psychological anguish.
Research also has shown that building students’ resiliency muscles is a good way to beef up their ability to bear up against the heightened stress of college life. That is why the college, in a proactive move, recently encouraged students to participate in the college’s first resiliency event of the 2023 year, which focused on teaching students positive self-affirmation through journaling.
“One of the pillars of resiliency, along with productive coping skills and cognitive flexibility, is positive self-talk,” said Melissa Mayor, a lead learning specialist who is certified in student trauma, wellbeing and resiliency and works with students daily to grow their resiliency skills. “Everyone has that inner voice that speaks to them when they are making decisions, big and small. It’s that voice that tells you that you look good today, you can get it done, or you have a lot to be proud of. … How we talk to ourselves matters. The more negatively you talk to yourself … the more negative your life becomes because that is your focus — the bad. However, with some training, patience, practice and time, this can be changed.”
Participants arrived at the resiliency event to find tabletops covered in an array of blank journals, colored pens, and positive thought stickers. After learning some key phrases for positive self-affirmations — and understanding why it’s a valuable tool — students were guided by learning specialists and a wellness center counselor to led by led to channel their positive thoughts and pictures in a journal.
Or more precisely, a self-care tool.
Students now “have a journal to remind them to speak kindly to themselves, boost themselves with positive self-affirmations when they are feeling low, and create through writing and drawing a healthy environment for their brain,” Mayor said.