UConn provides resources for the care of student mental and physical health


The University of Connecticut is providing its student body with materials designed to help them properly care for their health amidst COVID-19 concerns and class preparations.

One example of this endeavor is the U-Kindness initiative. According to the U-Kindness website, it is “a University-wide initiative intended to inform, engage, and connect with students throughout the University during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 The initiative’s website contains resources like the 2020 Opening Schedule, ways for students to maintain their physical and mental health, and tips on how to most effectively quarantine.

Fresh Check Day is an annual event to teach students more about mental health. For the fall 2020 semester, more action will be taken to promote mental health among students. File photo/The Daily Campus

Student Health and Wellness also provides a pamphlet for maintaining mental health during the pandemic titled F.A.C.E. C.O.V.I.D. This resource, adapted from the work of Russ Harris, acceptance and commitment therapist, of the same name, focuses on the practical steps that students can take to build resilience in the face of uncertainty.

“When you get physical, it helps you to not get so caught up in your mind,” the pamphlet reads. “Worries and fears tend to feed the mental and emotional storm, but getting connected with our body helps to interrupt that cyclone of COVID-19 worries.”

The pamphlet details ways in which students can care for their physical and mental health and well-being. It also encourages students to identify what they value and how they can put these values into practice.

“It takes commitment to be able to pursue action in the midst of a crisis that generates so much uncertainty, but taking action can free us from the chaos of the news cycle and liberate our love for those around us, our community, and our world,” the pamphlet reads. 

Jennifer Petro, interim co-leader of mental health services, provided additional comments on the challenges and solutions students may encounter this fall.

“You may thrive or struggle differently than in the past and both are to be expected,” Petro said. “Make sure, if you are finding it harder, not to overly personalize it. We all need help adjusting to things, and there are tons of people here to help you with that.”

UConn’s Counseling and Mental Health Services is located in the Arjona Building across from Mirror Lake. File photo/The Daily Campus

Despite these potential challenges, Petro said that there may be hidden benefits to the new online format. In particular, Petro feels that students who were nervous to attend in-person events in the past may be more willing to try out virtual meetings.

“It might actually increase students’ getting connected to new things because they can try it out ahead of time,” Petro said. “So go try lots of things. Try them out, meet new folks, and see if it is something you could get excited about doing at UConn.”

Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at thomas.alvarez@uconn.edu.

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