woman at beach during sunset

Even as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely accessible, mental health experts caution mental health and well-being concerns brought on by the pandemic may continue to impact students. Stressors can stem from disrupted plans, isolation and loneliness, financial strain, relationship conflicts, adjustment to online learning and barriers to travel. Those factors coupled with schoolwork, post-graduation plans and extracurricular activities, may exacerbate or lead to increased mental health problems heading into the summer months, experts said.

Free mental health resources are available at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC) for UH Mānoa students. CSDC provides brief solution-focused individual, couples, group and career counseling in which students who are currently located in Hawaiʻi can meet with a mental health professional through Zoom. The center also offers a variety of services aimed at learning new skills and connecting with other students, regardless of their current location within or outside of the state.

Throughout the spring semester, UH Mānoa students can register online to attend virtual drop-in support spaces, one-hour group sessions that provide a place for students of various identities (student-athletes, on-campus residents, international, LGBTQ+) to connect and share experiences. CSDC can also engage in a series of interactive, educational self-help workshops focused on developing skills to maintain mental and physical wellness. Workshops address topics such as healthy sleep routines, stress management and cultivating mindfulness.

Group therapy is also available to students who are in Hawaiʻi. Group programs focus on a variety of issues which include coping with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, pandemic-induced anxiety, building healthy relationships and exploring personal identity.

Interested students should call (808) 956-7927 to complete a brief telephone screening appointment with a CSDC counselor to ensure group therapy is appropriate.

For faculty, staff and academic programs, CSDC offers training opportunities, as well as clinical and program consultation regarding student mental health. UH Mānoa faculty and staff are encouraged to contact CSDC about how to refer students to appropriate resources, or to arrange topical training for their departments.

“As our UH Mānoa ‘ohana navigates a hopeful end to the pandemic, CSDC wants all students to know that they are not alone and that help is available,” said CSDC Psychologist Alexander Khaddouma.

CSDC has adjusted services for students and is set up for urgent individual crisis and walk-in appointments (with adjustments to accommodate physical distancing), brief solution-focused counseling via tele-mental health and telephone consultations. The center requests students call to set up an appointment prior to attending a walk-in appointment. Staff will help arrange appropriate services. If students are not able to connect with counseling services through CSDC, counselors can assist with referrals to outside resources, including for students living outside of the state of Hawaiʻi.

This is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success, one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan, updated in December 2020.

Faculty and staff can contact the UH Employee Assistance Program for counseling services at Worklife Hawaiʻi.

Additional resources