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Recent research indicates college students have been among the most significantly affected by the pandemic. Halfway through the semester, students may find themselves continuing to adjust to university life, changing restrictions and challenging courses. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC) is reminding students about free mental health resources on the Mānoa campus.

During the remainder of the fall semester, UH Mānoa students can register online for free interactive, educational self-help workshops focused on practical tips for maintaining mental and physical wellness. Workshops address topics such as developing healthy sleep routines, cultivating mindfulness and coping with stress.

“As a graduate student, the struggle to take care of oneself is real,” said Breanna Komata Agas, a UH Mānoa graduate student and CSDC peer fellow. “Through these workshops, I’ve come to realize that self-care is more than just slapping on a face mask and calling it a night; rather it is the active creation of habits that make life enjoyable.”

Earlier in the semester, CSDC hosted a series of virtual drop-in support spaces. The one-hour group sessions provided a place for students of various identities (such as student-athletes, on-campus residents, international students, LGBTQ+) to meet each other and share experiences virtually via Zoom.

Array of online options

Free mental health services through Zoom are still available, including brief solution-focused individual, couples, group and career counseling. The center can also provide crisis services for students needing immediate mental health support. Students who are currently enrolled at UH Mānoa and located within the state of Hawaiʻi are eligible for services. For those outside of the state, CSDC can help connect them with mental health resources in their area. Interested students should call (808) 956-7927 to complete a brief initial telephone appointment with a CSDC counselor who can connect them with the most appropriate service.

Faculty and staff can also access expertise and support of the mental health specialists at the CSDC. UH Mānoa faculty and staff are encouraged to contact CSDC about how to refer students to appropriate resources, or to arrange topical training opportunities for their departments. The CSDC also offers all UH Mānoa faculty, staff and students free access to Kognito, an online training program that teaches skills for communicating with others about mental health concerns and motivating them to seek help when needed.

“We want all members of our university ʻohana to feel seen and capable of supporting each other during these challenging times.” said CSDC Psychologist Alexander Khaddouma. “Now is a great time for all members of our university community to learn how to better care for ourselves and each other. The educational and training programs offered through the CSDC can help.”

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 Zoom and telephone consultations. The center requests that 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.

Faculty and staff can contact the UH Employee Assistance Program for counseling services through Employee Assistance of the Pacific.

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

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