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Emotional wellness involves understanding one's self and adequately facing the challenges life brings. For college students those challenges may include managing emotional reactions such as anxiety, depression and their frequent companion, stress. These are all perfectly normal human emotions that can provide motivation and help build character. It's only when they begin to limit one's ability to function with confidence that they can become an issue. In Spring 2019, a JCU survey revealed that 25.8% of college students reported being diagnosed or treated for anxiety within the previous 12 months, while 18.9% were diagnosed or treated for depression in that period.

Learning to manage our emotional reaction to life is critical in attaining emotional balance and well-being.  Utilize the the resources below to take care of yourselves and others.  In addition to these resources, JCU has created a Steps to Emotional Wellbeing guide!

On Campus Resources

Off Campus Resources

  • Crisis Text Hotline - a free, 24-hour text line available to anyone in suicidal or emotional distress. Text HOME to 741741.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call 800-272-TALK (8255). Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.
  • The Steve Fund - the nation’s leading organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color. Also provides a 24-hour text line - text STEVE to 741741.
  • The Trevor Project - provides information and 24/7 support to LGBTQ young people.
  • The Jed Foundation - national organization that promotes emotional health and prevents suicide for the nation’s teens and young adults
  • Psychology Today - offers a helpful “Find a Therapist” website for anyone interested in receiving off campus counseling services, whether during the academic year or over breaks.

Ted Talk on Mindfulness Meditation
When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes?

Three Videos to Get You Started:

  1. Myths about Meditation
    You may have some preconceived notions about what it means to meditate. This video quickly reviews what meditation is, and more importantly…what it isn’t.
  2. Why Meditate?
    Meditation has numerous, scientifically-backed benefits to your mental, physical, emotional, and social health. Watch the video below for an overview of its many positive effects.
  3. Meditation: A Beginner’s Guide
    And finally, this video provides tips on how to begin and maintain your meditation practice.

Talk to someone, journal your thoughts, distraction activities, change up your environment (e.g., go for a walk outside), reach out to a 24/7 support resource (e.g., Crisis Text Hotline). Also, working with a therapist can help you add these and other coping tools to your toolbox, such as mindfulness skills or re-framing unhelpful thinking patterns.

This kind of experience can also feel very isolating, and like they are the only one that is feeling this way, but sharing it with another trusted person can help them feel like they aren't the only one and can alleviate the weight of their struggle.

It’s a common developmental experience for students to experience changes in their behaviors, moods, values and behaviors during their college years. Some of these changes may be developmentally appropriate, and not necessarily signs that a student is having a psychological problem. Some behaviors, however, may indicate that a student is in distress.

You may want to take action if you notice some of the following behaviors in a student:

Academic Issues

  • Poor academic performance, especially if a change from past academic performance
  • Missing classes
  • Routinely handing in assignments late, or not at all
  • Ongoing confusion or stress about choosing a major
  • Preoccupation with good grades, to the point of causing anxiety, social issues, sleep issues, ongoing unhappiness or fear about the future

Emotional and/or Behavioral Issues

  • Moods that seem extreme or that change a lot; inappropriate displays of emotions
  • Anxiety, constant worry, fears, or preoccupations
  • Excessive crying
  • Fatigue, lack of interest in activities, lack of energy
  • Noticeable changes in personal hygiene
  • Preoccupation with food or body image
  • Impaired speech or disjointed, confused thoughts; bizarre behaviors
  • Aggressive or threatening behavior
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • References to suicide (either overt or vague, such as “sometimes I think about not being here”)
  • Statements about hopelessness or helplessness
  • Pessimism about the future

Social Issues

  • Difficulties in romantic relationships, such as prolonged grief over a break-up or a preoccupation with a certain individual
  • Problems getting along with others, such as friends or roommates
  • Avoiding social activities, or not making friends / social connections at school
  • “Hiding out” in dorm room
  • Avoiding cafeteria or other places where there are a large number of people

How do I respond?

  • Talk to the student as soon as you notice changes or signs of distress, even though it may be more comfortable to ignore the behavior.
  • Try to have the conversation in private, when you have enough time to talk.
  • Try to approach the conversation in a relaxed, caring manner and indicate the specific behaviors that are causing you to worry.
  • Use “I” statements that focus on what you have noticed or what you are feeling, rather than saying, for example, “You’re doing” or “You’re not..."
  • Listen without interrupting. It will be easier for the student to hear what you have to say if you’re willing to listen in return.
  • Try to develop empathy for the student's situation. The student is trying to cope with her/his problems in the best way that she/he currently knows how.
  • Avoid being critical or judgmental, or reminding the student of how college is “supposed to be.”
  • Encourage positive action by collaborating with the student to define the problem and together, brainstorm possible ways of handling it; avoid the temptation to solve the problem for him or her.
  • Don’t expect instant results. You have accomplished something if you were able to tell the student how you feel.
  • Search the website and/or call support services at the school for additional advice and guidance (See below for resources.)

Know that many students are hesitant to seek counseling because of perceived stigma. (We have a video that addresses myths about counseling here. Let the student know that hundreds of students access our services in a given semester, and it is something they can try without any type of commitment needed. All of our services are confidential, with a few exceptions that a counselor will address in the very first session. Ultimately, the student has to make the appointment themselves, due to their legal status as an adult.

All staff and faculty are encouraged to refer to JCU’s “Responding to Students in Distress” handbook

Introduction to Self-Compassion

A Deeper Understanding of Self-Compassion

Introduction to Mindfulness

Help Guide to Seasonal Affective Disorder 

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Types of Stress in College Students

Mental Health Apps Headspace -  An app for mindfulness and sleep MyLife Meditation -  An app for mindfulness and sleep Calm - An app for mindfulness and sleep

More a more comprehensive list of apps visit the Counseling Center's Site  

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Many people worry about things such as health, money, or family problems. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Being irritable
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep

Here are 13 ways for coping with anxiety and its symptoms: 

  1. Keep physically active. Develop a routine so that you're physically active most days of the week. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. It can improve your mood and help you stay healthy. Start out slowly, and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your activities.
  2. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. These substances can cause or worsen anxiety. If you can't quit on your own, see your health care provider or find a support group to help you.
  3. Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. Nicotine and caffeine can worsen anxiety.
  4. Use stress management and relaxation techniques. Visualization techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
  5. Make sleep a priority. Do what you can to make sure you're getting enough sleep to feel rested. If you aren't sleeping well, talk with your health care provider.
  6. Eat healthy foods. A healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish may be linked to reduced anxiety, but more research is needed.
  7. Learn about your disorder. Talk to your health care provider to find out what might be causing your specific condition and what treatments might be best for you. Involve your family and friends, and ask for their support.
  8. Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments and complete any assignments your therapist gives. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to taking your medication.
  9. Identify triggers. Learn what situations or actions cause you stress or increase your anxiety. Practice the strategies you developed with your mental health provider so you're ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.
  10. Keep a journal. Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what's causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
  11. Socialize. Don't let worries isolate you from loved ones or activitie
  12. Practice focused, deep breathing.                                                                                                     Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. By evening out your breath, you’ll slow your heart rate which should help calm you down.

  13. Use Aromatherapy.                                                                                                                    Aromatherapy is thought to help activate certain receptors in your brain, potentially easing anxiety.

For more information, please visit Mayo Clinic Health and The National Institute of Mental Health

Some students enter college recovering from substance abuse, or begin their recovery journey once in college. John Carroll is committed to helping those students through on and off campus resources.

Alcoholics Anonymous®

Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

There is an open meeting that takes place every Thursday night at 7:00pm across the street in the Pastoral Center, next to the Church of the Gesu. For other meeting times and locations please visit Alcoholics Anonymous Cleveland.

This is a free, confidential tool that helps individuals take steps toward a healthy relationship with drugs and alcohol. It was developed with the input of leading clinicians, experts from leading organizations like SAMHSA, and people in recovery themselves. Here, individuals can hear stories from people with similar life experiences, discover the answers they need for recognizing and dealing with substance use issues, and locate support. Family and friends can learn about addiction and how to encourage treatment, and support sober living on the website.

On the Wagon

In addition to this, if you are searching for other centers to help with recovery from addition, below is a link through “On the Wagon” to help you search for the best resources near you.

Cleveland Addiction Rehab Centers

Live Another Day Extensive information on mental health and substance use resources for People of Color. Their mission is equal access to life-saving resources.