Working on wellness: Surviving the semester


Hilarie Fotter, USM Doctoral Candidate in School Psychology


Are you feeling stressed?  Don’t know how you’re going to get it all done?  Feeling overwhelmed and/or alone in this?  Believe it or not, no matter how you’re feeling or what situation you’re facing, there are always ways to feel better.  And, if you have a friend who is struggling, there are things you can do to help them feel better, too.  Below are some ideas to start with on your journey towards wellness.

  1. Talk about it: Whether you need to speak up about something you’re feeling or you just want to start a conversation in the community or school about mental health conditions like depression and/or anxiety — bringing these issues out into the open helps everyone. You can explore the feelings, situations and conditions that many college students experience to get more informed, and then find help for yourself or a friend.
  2. Keep Your Eyes Open: We can be very good at hiding our pain. Unfortunately, holding that pain in and not getting support can lead us into bad outcomes — substance misuse, dangerous or risky behaviors and thoughts of suicide. So if you notice a change in someone’s behavior or have an instinct that they’re struggling with something, don’t keep that information to yourself! Have a conversation with them or let someone else know that you’re worried. Learn tips for helping a friend and some common warning signs of depression and suicide from a Student Support Network member or trainer around campus.
  3. Create a More Supportive Community: Dealing with depression, an eating disorder, self-injury or other emotional health issues is easier when we have a supportive community; and when you can feel free to express our feelings. Find ways to connect with people who care about you and let them know how you’re feeling.  If you can’t think of anyone, and even if you can, you are always welcome to walk in or call and make an appointment with USM Counseling Services.

Take a moment to Press Pause.  Half of us will deal with major mental illness at some point in our lives.  Remember, you’re not alone.  Make an appointment to talk with a USM mental health counselor or seek out a close friend or family member.  The Counseling Center offers comprehensive psychological services to the students of USM. The staff of the Counseling Center is comprised of a diverse group of professionals, including licensed psychologists, licensed clinical counselors, licensed alcohol and drug counselors, a multicultural counselor, and graduate interns and trainees. Together they embody a great deal of experience with a multitude of issues. In addition to services available to student population, the Counseling Center acts as a resource for the entire USM community. Counseling services are available on the Portland and Gorham campuses, and at LAC on Thursdays when classes are in session. 

Life is hard.  School is hard.  Stress makes it hard to enjoy life.  Find a way to press pause and get your life back; there are a number of ideas on the website .

Keep up the good work!

Information adapted from the JED Foundation’s Press Pause campaign and website.


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