Supervising Support and 3 Questions to Ask Someone You’re Worried About

by Jodi Langsfeld

As a student affairs professional, I believe it is pivotal we create an environment that is safe and supportive for our student body.  I believe we are the people they should think of turning to when they need something…almost anything.  And, even when we can’t personally provide them what they need, we are still here to help.  We educate them on what resources are available to them, who to call, where to go, we can even make these connections for and with them. This is our job and an expectation I have for any member of the team I work with. Continue reading

A Journey from Self-Preservation to Advocacy

by Katy Hamm

I suffer from anxiety and depression.

Statistically that is not an uncommon thing, but there is still a great deal of stigma that presents with identifying with any mental health issue.

My troubles began my freshman year of college, when I  found I had a great deal of social anxiety, which brought out my depression. A depression that multiplied after my best friend Emily was killed by a drunk driver that following summer. Continue reading

#SACommits – Wrap-Up Podcast

Yet again, Sue Caulfield and I got together to talk #SACommits and decided to share our conversation with you. This time we talk about our thoughts on the series, what we enjoyed, and future plans to keep spreading the good word about mental health in student affairs. We hope you’ll continue to join us in discussing this important topic on the interwebs and beyond.

Podcast posted at Kristendom on June 4, 2014.

Thick Skin and Therapy

by Sue Caulfield

My grandma Millie did her fair share of worrying as a grandma. I would venture to guess that may be a trait of the Italian women in my family that I very much inherited. One of my fondest memories is of her comforting me when I would cry; “Mi Susan,” she would say, holding my hand with her cold, beat up hands. “You need to grow thicker skin. I worry about your heart.”

Continue reading

Hitting the Reset Button

by Renee Dowdy

In November I shared a post, What Breaks You, where I wrote about being at a concert with my husband at The Vic in Chicago seeing the Old 97’s (feeling like I’m out of a scene from The Breakup – epic, right?!). I began to panic about having cell phone reception in the theater. Staff in my department expected that I respond to my residential communities 24/7 during the academic year. I kept looking at my work phone, and that’s when the panic came over me like a tidal wave. What if I miss a call? Why can’t I do this job right? Why can’t I seem to do anything right? Why was I hired to do this if I am completely incapable? Were my past six years in residence life just easy – is this the real hard work and I’m failing at it? I’m a failure. An absolute mess. Continue reading

I Am Going to Live With It

by Clare Cady

As I write this, I check in with myself and recognize that I am manic. I’ve been manic for well over a week now…I probably will be for a few days more. I can feel the start of a new phase in the cycles of my bipolar disorder creeping in. It’s the worst part to come – the part where my body feels like it is vibrating with too much energy and not enough all at the same time. It’s the withdrawal – the start of the low. Interestingly enough, the low feels better than the transition. For now, I push myself to focus in spite of my heightened attention and breathe. Breathing in, I know I am alive. Breathing out, I smile. Thanks, Tich Nhat Hanh. Continue reading

People Come First

by Jason Meier

It was my rallying cry. If a victim needs something, help them. Sort out the forms and receipts and paperwork later. If you’re alive and have a roof, you sit in a place of privilege. It’s your duty as a human to help those who have lost everything. Help people first. It became a mantra which would drive my reactions during any times of crisis. Continue reading

The Student Affairs Spectacular Podcast Episode #13: Kristen Abell and #SACommits

In honor of our ongoing series of community posts for Mental Health Awareness Month, we spoke with Kristen Abell about how this effort got started with the help of Stacy Oliver-Sikorski & Sue Caulfield as well as why we need to keep fighting the mental health stigma. Connect with her on Twitter, and at her blog! Many thanks to Kristen for taking some time out to chat with us!

Podcast posted at the Student Affairs Collective on May 27, 2014.

Grad School Selfie

by Monica Fochtman

Monica's drawing of her anxiety in grad school

I drew this picture of myself in spring 2007 when I was a full-time doctoral student. It was part of an assignment for our qualitative research methods class. I remember being excited to draw this picture because I thought that my fellow graduate students’ self-portraits would look similar, and I looked forward to kvetching about grad school life when we shared them in our small groups. At the time, my other roles included: mother, wife, part-time graduate assistant, and daughter and sister to a far-away family that was in crisis. These roles were obviously weighing heavily on me and my psyche. Clearly the person in this photo was not well. I was not well. Continue reading