Imagine the sedating effects of being in a room filled with calming music, a small number of peers and a trained acupuncturist leading basic relaxation skills.
With finals fast approaching it may seem as though this type of stress-relieving service is out of reach, but the reality is these types of services are closer than one might think.
CU offers many different types of stress relief from many different sources on campus, says Dr. Joe Courtney, the manager of Wardenburg’s Psychological Health and Psychiatry department.
These services do not operate with a “one-size fits all” mentality.
“Understanding that the context in which a student is presenting their current stressor is crucial for us in conducting an assessment and figuring out how we can be most helpful,” Courtney said.
“The more unique an individual’s psychological needs, the more creative services are becoming to meet them,” Courtney said.
“We have an acupuncture group in PHP,” Courtney said. “You don’t take off your clothes, there are needles that are applied to the ear and it’s a protocol that’s specifically targeted for stress reduction.”
“This acupuncture group, which is led by a trained specialist, was started in January and meets once a week for an hour,” Courtney said.
Courtney said Wardenburg also offers a relaxation skills group.
“There are various stress reduction techniques that are taught and then the student is encouraged to practice for the week,” Courtney said. “For example, breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, tai chi and ki-gong.”
“The need for changes in the programs that help students alleviate stress, like Wardenburg’s new acupuncture group, are partly in response to the overwhelming increase of students with major mental illnesses such as psychosis, depression and substance abuse issues,” Courtney said.
“Wardenburg’s initial budget for July 2009 to February 2010 was set to meet the needs of 10,110 visits, but the actual number of 11,426 visits they have seen to-date is 13 percent higher than their original estimates,” Courtney said.
Along with new Eastern methods of relieving stress, Wardenburg offers traditional Western means of approaching the sources of debilitating mental issues.
“We will also use psychotropic medication to help people, for example, manage depression so they can get up in the morning and go to class,” Courtney said.
Dr. Stephen W. Parcell of NatureMed Integrative Medicine said he believes that going back to basics can make a big difference in helping students manage stress levels.
“Being consistent with sleep the big thing I see with students,” Parcell said. “Students have late bedtimes Thursday through Saturday and try to go to bed at 10 [p.m.] the rest of the week. They should just try to go to bed around midnight every night.”
Parcell said he also suggests exercise, staying on top of schoolwork and avoiding drugs like Adderall to help students live a more stress-free life.
Jeniece Howe, 24-year-old senior economics major, said exercise is sufficient and she wouldn’t use Wardenburg as a resource for stress relief.
“I do yoga in the morning two days a week at the Rec Center,” Howe said. “I wouldn’t go through the university for help.”
Other students also see exercise as the key to helping alleviate their stressful schedules.
“I find exercise is the best to relieve stress,” said Cortlandt Pierpont, a 22-year-old senior astrophysics major. “I go out and play drop-in hockey or go lift weights at the gym or I go do yoga.”
Still other students find taking time for themselves can bring peace of mind.
“Taking a break and letting yourself relax and not worrying about school all the time helps,” said Erica Edelberg, a 20-year-old sophomore psychology major. “Even if you feel like you can’t take a break, take a break.”
Courtney said Wardenburg’s Psychological Health and Psychiatry department sees student visits related to stress every day.
“If you were to look at national surveys, you would see that stress is the number one presenting problem in clinics like ours, stemming from all different various factors,” Courtney said.
“Any student is eligible for the services offered at Wardenburg and those with the Golden Buff insurance plan can be seen at no additional charge,” Courtney said.
To learn more about the services provided by Wardenburg, check out their Web site.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sarah Simmons at Sarah.email@example.com.