How to handle school anxiety

Sonoma State University offers Counseling and Psychological Services that address relieving psychological distress. 

One program is called “How to Help a Friend” and their mission statement is “Recognizing Signs of Distress and Knowing What to do.”

The Sonoma State Counseling and Psychological Services offer two trainings that will: increase your awareness of mental health, enhance your communication techniques, build up your resume with one or both of these certifications and help your peers get the potentially life-saving help that they may need.

One program is a nationally acclaimed 30-minute interactive simulation that is online and completely confidential.

It teaches individuals to recognize signs of distress and conduct goal-orientated conversations. It allows new perspective on depression and thought-provoking suggestions.  

Students can access this free education at www.kognitocampus.com/student, and using the enrollment key: sonoma73.

The second program is suicide prevention training and can be requested for a club, team, organization, or group by contacting Rebecca Fein at rebecca.fein@sonoma.edu.  This program is face-to-face and built to be more personable.

The Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper Workshop is built to have a compassionate, direct conversation that seeks the individuals thoughts.

It also considers options and sources for professional help.  The training also includes a free meal for the group.

“I think it is very important to recognize when friends are going through rough times.  Everyone has times in their life when they are struggling,” said sophomore Jackson Immendorf. 

“We all live away from home and get stressed out in school, but people who care about you can really make a big difference.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 30 percent of students at a four-year college were reported as being so depressed that it was hard to function.

“Getting involved at school is a great way to meet new friends and have a great college experience,” said junior Conner McKenzie.  

Some ways Sonoma State offers students to get involved is through over 100 clubs, over 20 fraternities and sororities, volunteering at Join Us Making Progress (JUMP), National Collegiate Athletic Association division two sport programs and numerous campus events. 

Stresses in college may include living away from home for the first time, feeling alone, facing difficult schoolwork, experiencing conflict in relationships and worrying about finances.  

When feeling sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worthless, helpless, irritable, or restless, one may be experiencing depression.  For advice or in need of help, call the toll free 24-hour, 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor.

“About this time of year, the ‘honeymoon’ as we call it, comes to an end and the realities of being way from home, significant others, trying to fit in, sometimes making poor choices, the impending midterm, etc. hit; we see more students who get homesick, stressed out, retreat into their rooms, or finding other ways to numb their pains,” said Associate Director of Student Development Mo Phillips.

“At this time, we really try to help them identify ways to make Sonoma their home; to get involved, to get out to events, to cheer on the Seawolves, to go on trips, to just generally meet new people. We find that if the students can stick out the roller coaster for a few months and find their niche, it does get better.”

Every year nearly 1 million people lose their lives to suicide.  Suicide, at a global rate, affects 16 out of every 100,000 people.

Every 40 seconds a life is lost to suicide.  It is the second leading cause of death in 10 to 24 year olds.  Furthermore, suicide attempts are estimated at a rate of 20 times more. 

Spreading awareness and recognizing symptoms can decrease the statistics of suicide.  When recognizing depression symptoms in oneself or a friend, take the appropriate action.