Rapidly approaching deadlines, essays to write and projects to finish – for students, stress can be just as difficult to avoid as it is overwhelming. UC Berkeley’s University Health Services, or UHS, launched a new service to help students navigate these issues, offering thirty-minute consultations on stress management.
The service provides resources on a variety of potential academic, career and personal root causes of stress. Students are connected with solutions across campus and offered tools for handling the emotional side effects of stressors during these appointments.
“Students will be prompted to share what brought them to seek this service, and then they will be given resources and helpful next steps that may assist them,” said assistant director of Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, Chris McLean in an email. “Our counselors will act as navigators of sorts to help students in learning about resources offered through CAPS/the Career Counseling Library, as well as on the greater UC Berkeley campus, that may help them overcome some of the stress they are experiencing.”
Consultations are led by a group of career and wellness interns who are master’s or doctoral students on campus, according to McLean. The interns have undergone training in mental and career counseling and have put these skills to use counseling campus students since August 2022.
McLean expressed his intent to help students mitigate stress through these services.
“By offering these consultations now we hope to assist students in following through on a health and wellness goal during a time when self-care is especially important,” McLean said in an email.
McLean observed the program’s positive reception on campus and noted students are benefiting both from the resources made available to them in appointments and discussing what’s on their mind.
ASUC Senator Mahathi Kandimalla said although academic stress concentrates during exam season, there are many things students can do to keep their spirits up. She added that several ASUC events are occurring during Reading, Review and Recitation and finals week.
“I’ve seen offices pass out goodie bags and candy, which helps get my mind off exams and stress for a little bit,” Kandimalla said in an email. “While not an official resource, our university has a lot of walking paths I also like to utilize to take breaks.”
In addition to the consultations, UHS website also offers a series of free mental health apps, such as Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer.
Further, the virtual library Therapy Assist Online contains modules on learning how to manage stress and digital logs where students can track their progress.
“I hope that students will be kind to themselves and think about small things they can do to promote health and wellness while preparing for finals,” McLean said in an email.