Marquette Wire

Mental health among students strained by finals and winter break

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In order to stay on top of increased stress induced by finals and Christmas break, Marquette University’s Counseling Center has a system in place to balance out the busy time of year.

Nick Jenkins, counselor and mental health advocacy coordinator, said the amount of clients continuously builds up throughout the year, but it comes to a head at the end of the semester.

“We try to balance this out by meeting with some students who are doing better less frequently and trying to keep open times for students who may require immediate help,” Jenkins said.

Jodi Blahnik, the counseling department’s assessment coordinator, said the center continues to see students in a timely manner.

Of all the intakes since the beginning of the semester, 75 percent were seen within eight days of calling and 90 percent were seen within a week and a half of calling, Blahnik said.

In comparison to Marquette, Jenkins said other universities he previously worked at have a similar system in place, while others operate under a waitlist system.

Jenkins said the Counseling Center wants to make sure it can best meet the needs of the campus community.

“If we saw too many students for long-term counseling, then new students who were trying to access services would not be able to be seen in a timely manner,” Jenkins said.

Katie Robertson, a freshman in the College of Communication, said she is concerned about re-adjusting to her life at home once she returns from finals.

“I’m doing something all the time here, and I’m worried that I’ll always be looking for ways to fill the time during the break,” Robertson said. 

Robertson said there’s always more to do, including projects, papers and speeches. “Being alone with your thoughts isn’t an easy thing to do anytime there’s not constant stimulation,” she added. 

Rebecca Robb, president of the Marquette chapter of Active Minds, said that around this time of year many students don’t take proper care of themselves. She said there is a lot of pressure to be joyful and happy.

“You’re not going to be happy all of the time and that’s okay,” Robb said. “There is this ‘ideal’ holiday attitude that is portrayed throughout media, but in reality the holiday season tends to be bittersweet for many.”

In response to the concerns of many students, organizations like Marquette University Student Government and Active Minds have multiple activities planned during the final weeks before break.

Robb said Active Minds worked with MUSG and the Student Wellness Peer Educators on the “You’re Not Alone” campaign.

Robb said students were able to write on flags showing support for mental health and placed them in the Central Mall. She added that this Wednesday there is a wellness night where Active Minds is collaborating with the Student Wellness Peer Educators, and students can come and participate in de-stressing activities.

Jenkins said the Counseling Center, in coordination with MUSG, will be hosting Take a Break, an event in the Alumni Memorial Union second floor lobby Tuesday from 4-5:30 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 1:30 p.m. The event will involve free giveaways, several therapy animals, free food and stress management techniques.

MUSG President Meredith Gillespie said she encourages students to make their way out to the events Tuesday and Thursday.

“I am someone who struggles with maintaining my mental health, but events like Take a Break provide a space to set that stress aside for a moment and put yourself first,” Gillespie said.

Additionally, Gillespie said the event gives the Counseling Center a chance to inform students about what services it offers.

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About the Writer
Joseph Beaird, News Reporter

Joseph Beaird is a News Reporter for the Marquette Wire. He is a freshman from Yorba Linda, California majoring in Journalism. He enjoys being a Marvel...

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