Mind over Subject Matter: Stress Management and Mental Health Resources on Campus

by Veselin Simonov

image by flickr user bottled_vold

image by flickr user bottled_vold

It’s about that time of the semester where students start wondering where exactly all the time went. August and September flew by at breakneck speed and – at this pace – you might just blink and miss October. As the clock ticks ever faster, law students find themselves facing escalating pressure stemming from classes, writing assignments, work, and a plethora of other responsibilities. As the stress mounts, avenues of relief become more and more necessary. As we shared in an earlier blogpost, there are certain mental strategies you can use to cope with such a heavy workload. In addition to that, however, GSU offers numerous, valuable stress management and mental health resources to students. This guide summarizes these resources below in the hope that law students use them to get through the significant strain of law school without succumbing to anxiety.

The Mind-Body Clinic

The GSU Counseling and Testing Center (CTC), located on 75 Piedmont Ave, N.E., Suite 200A, has established a clinic with the sole purpose of helping students fight stress. To take advantage of any of the services the clinic offers, either stop by the above mentioned address or call 404-413-1640 to make an appointment.

One of the main draws of the clinic is the Relaxation Room. The room features a variety of interactive audio and video resources that cover meditation, guided imagery, sleep issues, relaxation, etc. The Relaxation Room also has a sophisticated massage chair that can give personalized Shiatsu and Swedish massages by adjusting to each user’s weight, height, and width.

The clinic also offers nutrition services which can help with weight management, preventing or overcoming eating disorders, and healthy nutrition. Individual nutrition counseling is available by appointment.

Biofeedback is another useful resource the clinic offers that can help control anxiety. Biofeedback uses technology that monitors vital signs in order to estimate stress levels. The technology gives specific feedback on coping strategies, thus allowing the user to more-effectively control his or her physical state. Using biofeedback to train yourself to manage the physical symptoms of stress can help with sleep problems, test and performance anxiety, and (for all you future trial and appellate attorneys out there) public speaking.

The clinic offers a variety of wellness workshops as well. These seminars offer guidance on a variety of issues including substance abuse, relaxation, nutrition, communication, relationships, etc.

Group and Couples Counseling

Law school is a huge time commitment, and it can strain the relationships you have with friends, family, and loved ones. CTC offers brief couples counseling services free of charge, and partners need not be GSU students. Group counseling can also help fight stress. CTC runs several, specifically-tailored support groups, including a group especially for graduate students.

Individual Counseling and Psychiatric Services

Some students may feel that group counseling doesn’t suit their needs. As such, CTC also offers short-term, individual counseling services. The number of counseling sessions offered depends on clinical need, counselor availability, and the professional judgment of the counseling staff, however counseling can include up to 15 sessions within the academic year. The center also offers options for transferring medication needs and medication monitoring to CTC.

Substance Use Risk Reduction Program (SURRP)

Lawyers are twice as likely to struggle with alcohol abuse and other chemical dependencies compared to other professions in America, according to the Lawyer Assistance Program. Work-related stress and a work environment that may involve social drinking both contribute to these unfortunate statistics. However, help is available. GSU offers a Substance Use Risk Reduction Program (SURRP) which helps assess the risk of alcohol and drug-related problems. The SURRP also provides the support necessary to make low-risk choices in order to avoid future substance abuse problems.

Conclusion

You can find more detailed information about everything above and more on the CTC Services webpage or by calling 404-413-1640. I sincerely hope you use these resources when the need arises. I also recommend turning to fellow students or to faculty and staff if you need someone to talk to about managing the heavy workload. They probably have a pretty good idea about what you’re going through and there is absolutely no shame in asking. Remember – help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

 

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