According to the American Psychological Association, 41.6% of college students suffer from anxiety, and 36.4% suffer from depression to the point of debilitation. At BYU-Idaho, the Wellness Center runs a number of workshops to help students physically and emotionally.
Many students know about and participate in Fit For Life, one of the workshops which focuses on physical health. Thrive provides workshops that help students with anxiety through recreational activities. The counseling center hosts two different stress and anxiety workshops for students.
The stress and anxiety workshops are held every Wednesday and Thursday in the John W. Hart building at 2 p.m. Lori Miller, a certified licensed professional counselor, leads on Thursday, and Ben Rolph, also a certified counselor, teaches on Wednesdays. Students can sign up for these workshops here.
“Going to school and working is really hard,” said Denys Leal, a junior studying accounting. “There is a lot of pressure to be perfect at everything. I like to take time to do things I enjoy. I love the yoga classes on campus as well because it is a great way to be away from homework and relax. I feel like many people would benefit from a stress and anxiety class. Even if you do not have a diagnosed issue, everyone needs to understand anxiety and stress so that it can be overcome and coped with.”
Classes remain confidential, and Miller starts her class with an adult coloring book activity, to promote relaxation. In the class, students interacted with each other to help their peers with the difficulties of life.
“We spend much of our mental energy caught up in the fear of ‘what-if’ or what could happen in the future,” Miller said. “I try to start the stress and anxiety workshop with an activity to ground themselves in the present moment. Other stress and anxiety workshops start a different way because they are led by different clinicians.”
The counseling center has 17 full-time counselors who can help students one-on-one. The stress and anxiety workshop provides an additional way to help students.
“Part of the logic behind starting the stress and anxiety workshop is to help students that may be seeking counseling services for anxiety,” Miller said. “It is a way to help people who are seeking services, but are on a waitlist, can get the help that they need.”
According to Miller, people who are struggling but are still doing ok would benefit from going to the Wellness Center workshops to prevent reaching clinical level anxiety and depression.
“When I say ‘clinical level,’ I am meaning that an issue or concern is interfering with a person’s ability to attend their goals and or connect with others,” Miller said.
Signing up for the class differs for each student. If the student goes to the counseling center first, counselors will refer them to the workshop. Students can also sign up online without help from a counselor.
“My favorite part about being in the workshop is being on the ground,” Miller said. “I love being there and being in the moment and see people say ‘I actually feel better right now.’ A few weeks ago, somebody said to me, ‘This is actually helping.’ My favorite thing is seeing the change in someone.”
The counseling center invites students to come visit them for additional help. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should immediately contact the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. People can also chat online at the National Suicide Prevention lifeline.