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ASU Counseling Services can help with student stress

Anxiety, depression and relationship issues are the 3 biggest student concerns.
A healthy lifestyle and avoiding negativity can help reduce stress in students.
August 24, 2017

Noisy roommates. Rigorous coursework. Sleep deprivation. Hunger pangs. Burgeoning romances.

Such are the woes of college life, but they can create real, substantial problems for students.

A recent study out of Belgium found doctoral students were at an increased risk for mental-health problems due to the pressures associated with academia. Though the study focused on postgraduate students studying science or humanities subjects, as several news outlets have reported, the findings stand to open up a conversation about the stress levels of all students in higher education.

As we herald in a new academic year, Associate Vice President of ASU Health and Counseling Services Aaron Krasnow wants students to know that experiencing things like anxiety and depression are completely normal, and that there are resources available right on campus.

“If you want to talk to us for any reason at any time, we’re here to talk to you,” he said.

Krasnow shared what to look out for, ways to cope and where you or a friend can get help if you need it.

Aaron Krasnow

Question: What are some of the biggest stressors or most common concerns of students at the beginning of a new school year?

Answer: Anytime anybody is starting anything new, what happens is that people go through a period of adjustment. It’s different for different people. One of the hallmarks of that adjustment period can be an increased stress level. Depending on a person’s ability to cope with stress, it may lead to new experiences, maybe feelings of being anxious or lonely, or it may exacerbate things that are underlying. Or maybe someone has had experiences with anxiety or depression in the past and under stress, they can resurface. But overall students adjust quite well.

That said, some of the most common concerns I hear from students are feelings of anxiety, followed by feelings of depression, followed by relationship concerns. There’s quite a bit of overlap among those concerns, but those are the top three. And they hold pretty consistent throughout school year.

Q: Are there things students can do to help cope with those stressors?

A: Adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing; eating well, being active, being engaged with supportive people in your life, avoiding negative influences on your well-being, avoiding or minimizing use of alcohol and drugs, surrounding yourself with positive people. ... If there are difficult people in your life, maybe learning how to deal with them or avoid them.

It’s challenging sometimes for college students because they’re in a new environment, so they may have to invent or discover anew [ways of coping with stress] once they get to college. While they may have had those skills in high school, they may have to re-learn things like determining those people who are close to them that they can trust, or how to balance new experiences and new responsibilities.

Q: When should someone seek professional help?

A: The first thing I’d say is a person should seek out help whenever they want to. If you want to talk to us for any reason at any time, we’re here to talk to you.

But how do you know when it’s a good idea? There are a couple indicators that might nudge someone in that direction: whenever what they’re dealing with is interfering with living their life, or when it has reached an intensity that they feel like they can’t handle. So those two things: interference and intensity.

Q: Why might someone avoid seeking help?

A: Unfortunately, stigma still exists about reaching out for help, in some communities more than others. But that stigma has a lot to do with confidence. People may be willing to do things that might be embarrassing if they think it will work out for them. We spend lot of time to try and make sure people are very confident in the help that’s available all around them at ASU. We want to remind people that what they’re going through is normal, and to have confidence that seeking help will work.

Q: What services are available to students at ASU, and what can they expect if/when they do meet with a counselor?

A: Students can check out our website for a list of specific services.

As far as what to expect, they can expect to be treated well. They can expect to be listened to. They will be seen that same day, within a short period of time. We don’t keep them waiting. They’ll get the opportunity to talk to a counselor about what’s going on. Their visit can be short or long depending on what they’re coming in for. Most of the time it’s a short talk; then we make a plan for how to deal with it and set up a follow-up visit. If they’re in a crisis, it can be a longer visit — as long as it takes to take care of what’s wrong. We don’t have a session time limit. It’s whatever is needed in that moment.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

 
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ASU, adidas grow alliance with scholarship partnership

Scholarship program to begin with 100 adidas employees, expand in coming years.
August 24, 2017

Pilot program to cover majority of ASU Online degree costs for 100 adidas employees, with shared goal of helping people succeed

PORTLAND, Ore. — Leaders of adidas and Arizona State University on Thursday revealed plans to expand access to higher education for employees of the athletic apparel giant during an event at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon.

The adidas/ASU Digital Education Partnership is the latest development in the Global Sport Alliance, a strategic partnership announced in June with the goal of shaping the future of sport and amplifying its positive impact on society.

The Digital Education Partnership will provide scholarships to ASU’s online degree program for 100 adidas employees, granting them access to a world-class education from the nation’s most innovative universityU.S. News & World Report has ranked ASU as the country’s most innovative university, ahead of MIT and Stanford, two years running. and underpinning adidas’ goal to be “the best place to work.”

“From [adidas’] standpoint, it not only achieves their mission of social purpose but of investing in their workforce, in the people who make them successful. For [ASU], it allows us to deliver on our charter and make people successful,” said Jeffrey Angle, executive director of marketing and relationships at EdPlus, ASU's unit that creates technology for new ways of teaching and learning.

Scholarships are available to the pilot-sized group of benefits-eligible employees within the U.S. and will cover a majority of degree costs beginning in January, with aspirations to scale the program internationally over the next three years.

The program reflects both adidas’ and ASU’s commitment to social embeddedness detailed in the Global Sport Alliance. Its objective is to bring together education, athletics, research and innovation to explore topics including diversity, sustainability and human potential — all through the lens of sport.

At Thursday’s event here at adidas Village, the company's name for its Portland-area campus, about 500 employees watched a video detailing ASU’s charter — inclusion vs. exclusion; impact on public good; responsibility for the broader community — played on a jumbo screen.

When the lights came back up, President of adidas North America Mark King took the stage and greeted the crowd before launching into an introduction of the day’s discussion. It would be, he said, the first of a series of discussions to come which would feature speakers who are trying to make the world a better place and who can share their insights and passion with the adidas family.

The theme of this first talk was impact and innovation.

“When I thought about our first speaker,” King said, “there was really only one person that came to mind when talking about innovation and inclusion.”

He then recounted his first meeting with  ASU President Michael M. Crow in 2014 when adidas entered into an athletic relationship with the university.

“It only took me one meeting to understand the opportunity that we would have as an organization to partner in a more meaningful way,” King said.

Out of that understanding came the Global Sport Alliance.

“This is different than a relationship between two institutions who are buying and selling services from each other. That’s not why we have a relationship. What we care about is what can we do to enhance human potential.”
— ASU President Michael M. Crow

Crow — sporting ASU/adidas wrestling gear, a nod to his days as a heavyweight wrestler — then addressed the crowd. He praised those gathered there for their part in designing tools that have the potential to transform the world and allow human beings to move in a new direction — away from competition as survival and toward realizing unforeseen potential.

Crow praised the company in general, as well, calling it “a conscious capitalist organization as opposed to a mindless organization” concerned only with the bottom line.

adidas, Crow said, “cares about peoples’ lives, about being fair” and about providing life-changing educational opportunities to those who seek them, a value he noted is shared by ASU.

“But there’s an inherent flaw in college education in the U.S.,” Crow said. “If you come from the bottom quartile of family incomes, as I did, you have an eight percent chance of getting a degree even if you’re in the upper 20 percentile of academic achievement.

“That’s messed up. That’s not something we can change the country with. That’s not something we can move in a new direction with.”

And it’s something that spurred him to completely restructure the model for the public university, something he has been laboring at for the past 15 years at ASU. Crow’s New American University is one that matches inclusion with excellence, striving for a student body that reflects the diversity and socioeconomic demographics of the country at large and a faculty that performs just as well or better than that of institutions that limit acceptance to students coming from families in the upper 1 percent of the annual income bracket.

Several initiatives and partnerships have helped ASU get to that point, including the Starbucks College Achievement Program, which today has more than 7,000 Starbucks employees participating in the program.

When Aaron Shannahan, who works in finance at adidas, heard the news that his company will be rolling out a similar program, he called it “an awesome opportunity for anyone who hasn’t finished their degree or who is looking to advance their education further.”

Crow left the crowd Thursday with a key takeaway: Accept nothing as a given; your future is something you must determine, and ASU and adidas are committing to making sure everyone has the chance to do that.

“This is different than a relationship between two institutions who are buying and selling services from each other,” he said. “That’s not why we have a relationship. What we care about is what can we do to enhance human potential, to produce whole people who can advance physically, intellectually, socially, culturally, morally. … We think there’s a huge opportunity working with you all toward that end, and we’re very excited about that.”

 

Top photo: President of adidas North America Mark King (left) and ASU President Michael Crow speak onstage at the athletics apparel company's U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Photo courtesy of adidas

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657