Counseling center offers student safe haven

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Nobody should struggle through life alone.

“The hidden lesson of college life is learning balance,” said staff psychologist at the Student Counseling Center Forrest Merrill. “It is a lifelong journey to learn balance and we are here to help students along their college path.”

According to Merrill, adjustment, culture shock from high school or studying abroad, reverse culture shock, homesickness, seasonal affective disorder and anxiety in general, are some of the common illnesses students, more commonly freshmen, go through during this time of the school year.

“The reason for these illnesses is because they underestimate stress and time adjusting to a new routine and lifestyle,” said Merrill. “Also, the changing of daylight and adjustment to daylight hours begin to shrink which causes a reduced energy and mood, but it is not uncommon to happen.”

Merrill highly encourages students to go to the Student Counseling Center for help and guidance because adjustment illness that occurs for a long period of time can lead to depressive or anxiety based
symptoms. A common way to treat or prevent any type of stress-related illness is through
stress management techniques.

A student can become more resilient with stress by maintaining consistent sleep, maintaining healthy eating habits and by getting active at least 15 minutes a day.

“Managing stress helps manage mental health conditions, betterment and mindfulness as well,” said Merrill.

The Counseling Center has recently started “The Boxer Breather,” a workshop held every Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Boxer Pause, a room located in the U.C. Different members from the Counseling Center staff teach management stress techniques and help with resiliency, helping to achieve a better way of living and overall general wellness.

“In this workshop, we provide information about becoming more resilient to stress and management skills as well as practice,” said Merrill. “No appointment is needed, any student is more than welcomed to come.”

Students also have access to the Oasis, located by Campus Wellness and Student Life in Clark Hall. In the Oasis, there is a massage chair, computer system to help with breathing, a light box to give therapeutic levels of light and provides a relaxed environment for students to de-stress.

The Student Counseling Center provides 10 subsidized sessions per academic year to all students. If a student wants to do more than that, each session would cost $15. Each session is usually 45-50 minutes long, but Merrill said the he and the staff works accordingly to a student’s needs.

“If a student knows he or she is having symptoms with anything interfering his or her ability with school work or social life or having any suicidal thoughts, we strongly encourage them to come to the counseling center,” said Merrill. “We are an excellent resource.”

Anybody is welcomed to call in and schedule appointments at the Student Counseling Center.

“Students can come in for a consultation or ask questions about stress management,” said Merrill.

This year, the counseling center has new walk-in hours from 12-1 p.m., devoted for those students who do not have scheduled appointments.

“Students should know that it is common to go through these illnesses like anxiety and adjustment stress and that we are here to support them,” assured Merrill. “Pacific provides students with resources like us and that is why I love working here and proud to provide these types of services.”


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