As the semester continues to unfold, the inevitable is happening — stress levels are rising. Student projects and the first round of tests are upon us. In lieu of grades, exams and a quarter of the semester being done, stress, for some students, may be the one thing they are sure of.
Counseling Services at K-State has essentially revitalized an older program into “Stress Management Online.” This program has clearly defined sessions to help students work through trying times in a free, online course accessible through K-State Online.
“The program starts off helping students define what stress is,” Wendy Barnes, online programs coordinator for Counseling Services, said. “Then, it goes on to help those using the program to pinpoint and identify their personal stressors. The program then offers specific resolutions, and offers ways to help work in time management skills and help alleviate those stressors.”
According to Barnes, Stress Management Online is more personal and interactive that the previous program. The program used in years past was formatted as a PowerPoint and video combination – the video essentially being the verbal version of the PowerPoint presentation. The videos in the previous version were about 30 minutes in length. The videos in the new program are only around five to eight minutes.
“The new program will engage students more in their own learning,” Dorinda Lambert, director of Counseling Services, said. “This program helps to challenge students to think more critically about their own stressors, as well as apply things they’ve learned from the program into their every day lives.”
Stress Management Online offers students different ways to attack and solve their everyday stressors. The program helps students document specific times in their day when they are most stressed and find solutions if those problems were to arise again.
Because it is offered through students’ K-State Online, they can access the program at any time. Barnes said she’s seen students access the program all hours of the day, including late at night and the earliest hours of the morning.
“All you have to have is an eID and password, and you can be signed up for the program,” Lambert said. “This program helps reach students who can’t necessarily come in and meet with us during the day. It also helps reach distance learners who can’t always come onto campus or meet with people face to face.”
Lambert said the first time the program was launched, it was done in a rush. There was a push to get the program online fairly fast. But, upon the hiring of Barnes, the department was able to upgrade the program and improve it for those want to use it.
Barnes said the Stress Management Online program helps provide a safe space for those who feel stigmatized dealing with stress.
“Mental health is still incredibly stigmatized,” Barnes said. “We are continuing to try to break those barriers down [with this program], even though stress management isn’t considered a mental health.”
Stephanie Morris, a licensed psychologist for Counseling Services, said this program also helps curb the prevention of stress. Through the potential prevention of stress, it will help with retention both in the academic setting and in potential future careers.
“Some students haven’t received the skills or tools on how to deal with stress,” Lambert said. “But if we continue to do this prevention work, and detect stress early on, we can continue to improve people’s moods, relationships and, above all else, their academic success.”