How to Improve Your Mental Health in College

What is Self-Care? Why is Self-Care Important?

Self-care is taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. It can help to avoid things like burnout, which happens when you are under too much stress. Stress is natural, but if it is not addressed it can turn into something bigger. It's important to take time to relax and take care of yourself so that your stress doesn't get in the way of living your day-to-day life. You also want to build yourself up to avoid being brought down by negative thoughts.

There are different types of self care: physical self-care, emotional self-care, and spiritual self care are some of the big ones. Taking care of yourself in each of these areas can improve your daily life. We recommend setting goals for yourself in each area.

How to Care for Yourself During the College Admissions Process ⚡️

The college application process can definitely become stressful and time-consuming, so caring for yourself during this process is important. Practicing a self-care routine is a great way to make sure you are taking care of yourself throughout the college process!

Self-Care Checklists 🧠✔️

You can use these checklists and self-care ideas to help you develop daily and weekly self-care routines that work well for you! Make a list of the ideas and activities you find most important. You can even make a self-care planner if you like to be organized. Though everyone's self-care routine may have different activities, self-care is for everyone.

Daily Checklist ⏰

  • Drink water and hydrate
  • Move your body! (any form of movement/exercise)
  • Unplug & turn screens off
  • Meditate/practice breathing exercises
  • Shower
  • Eat nutritious foods
  • Work on sleep routine (aiming for at least eight hours a night)

Weekly Checklist🗓

  • Get fresh air
  • Listen to music
  • Connect with support network (friends, family, mentors)
  • Organize your space
  • TREAT YOSELF! (read a book, journal, draw, watch your favorite movie)
  • Work on establishing morning and nighttime routines

Mental Health Resources 🧠

Below are a few different resources that you can integrate into your self-care routines or plans.

Campus/School Resources 🏫

Campus resources are places you can go to on your college campus for a variety of support. These are often listed on your school's website. While some of these may vary from school to school, here are a few examples:

🏥 Counseling Center

Allows you to schedule 1:1 counseling sessions with mental health professionals. This is a great way to take time for yourself while receiving support in a safe space.

📚 Academic Resource Center

Provides you the opportunity to meet with tutors for different classes and attend workshops. This is a great resource to help manage academic-related stress and to stay on top of schoolwork.

🤸‍♀️ Gym/Fitness Center

As a student, you might have access to your campuses’ or local fitness center. Exercise is a great way to get in some self-care, and movement boosts mental health! If you don't have access, find a local park or trail and spend sometime exercising outdoors!

Mental Health Resources Provided by Fiveable 🌶

  • Crisis Textline: At Fiveable, we partner with Crisis Textline to provide free access to a trained counselor. Stressed or struggling and need to talk to a trained counselor? Text FIVEABLE to 741741 to get started.
  • Joon: Fiveable partners with Joon to provide students with free mental health resources. Each month, Joon surveys our students, writes a blog post, and leads a live event on a mental health-related topic. Here is more information on our partnership. Below are the first two topics we covered:

Mental Health and Self-Care Apps📱

Downloading mental health apps is a great way to give yourself access to self-care and mental health resources whenever you need them. Here are a few examples:

  1. Headspace offers a variety of mediation and mindfulness programs. The headspace app allows you to select programs from different categories (i.e., sleep) and provides helpful information on the importance of each category.
  2. Peloton offers a variety of exercise and meditation classes. There are also meditation classes on specific topics, which is a great way to individualize your self-care.
  3. Talkspace provides virtual therapy sessions with licensed professionals. This allows you to access therapy from anywhere.

Immediate Resources and Hotlines🚨

If you need immediate support, here are resources that you can access 24/7.

  1. National Suicide Prevention Hotline provides free and confidential 24/7 support. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 1-800-273-8355.
  2. Crisis Text Line provides 24/7 support. You can text "FIVEABLE" to 741741 to be connected with a Crisis Counselor at any time.

Mental Health Resource Chart

Resource Name
Teen Link is a program of Crisis Connections that serves youth in Washington State.
Highly-trained, expert advocates to offer free, confidential, and compassionate support, crisis intervention information, education, and referral services in over 200 languages.
Happify has positive psychology games and resources in an app format.
NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures, and access to quality care.
A national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Free Textline with access to trained counselors. Text FIVEABLE to 741741
A free nationwide peer-to-peer helpline for giving resources to those struggling with mental health conditions.
Database of free mental health resources available to students in a variety of topics.
Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19 Online course.
A group of students created a public chatbot to help kids cope with stress and learn more about mental health.
A virtual panic button that connects users with instant mental health support from trusted contacts.
Mental Health America as an organization has set up a fundraiser platform for students to gather funds in their communities for specific goals of mental health advocacy and event planning.
A curated list of 55 mental health resources for people of color.
This article contains many websites and forums for struggling students to connect with others for emotional and educational support. 
A list of useful applications for people of color struggling with today's racially tense landscape. These applications have been lauded for creating safe spaces for those struggling with their mental health and could be incredibly useful to include in our Joon mental health campaigns. 
A nonprofit movement with the mission to present hope and find help for people who are struggling with depression, self-injury, addiction, and suicide through a one-week high school interactive program, The program educates students about everyday mental health struggles, what help and resources exist, and how they can play a key role in destigmatizing the conversation around these issues.
A school-based peer-to-peer suicide prevention program.
An introductory video created for children about mental health and other issues.
A mental health tracking app for users to plan out personal goals, self-care, and stay happy.
Educational videos created by the British NHS for educating the public on mental health issues and their impacts.
An analytical perspective to mental health to remove false understandings about the community and conditions
A comprehensive list of organizations, initiatives, and blogs tied to supporting those suffering from mental health issues.
Mayo Clinic guidance on how to prevent suicide in close friends and connections.
CDC collection of websites to deal with stress during COVID-19.
Collection of free resources and mindfulness tips for those going through mental health issues.

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