Written by: Chelsea Myer, BS, CHES, CPT and Gabriella Pepe-McGinley PharmD, BCACP, AAHIVP
With the school year quickly approaching for college and university students, Ivira Health wants to offer advice on how to handle the transition back into the educational year. It is an exciting time for young adults to head off to college, but we know it can be overwhelming for both students and parents. Here are some of our top tips and tricks to effectively transition to college:
Prioritize your mental health
Mental health issues among college students are increasing, especially as we begin to adjust to the recent changes that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing. However, we are also beginning to see an increase in mental health awareness and resources, especially on college campuses. Resources include financial assistance, mental health counseling, healthcare facilities, support groups, and more. You can typically find these resources online on your student portal, by asking your academic advisor, or by inquiring at your campus health center.
Take care of your physical health
Incoming college students often experience community-living for the first time, as living on campus comes with the territory of shared spaces. Many first-year students end up with a variety of cold-and-flu-like illnesses. Along with the already-existing measures in place to protect students and faculty from COVID-19, there is plenty you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other preventable illnesses while on campus. Wear a mask in shared-indoor spaces, wash your hands regularly, do not share food or drinks with friends, sanitize your shared living spaces often (bathrooms and dorms), and ensure you eat a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet to protect your immune system.
Stay Active and Well-Nourished
Physical health includes more than just illness-prevention. Most campuses will include a student gym where students can engage in physical activity to stay fit. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress while also taking care of your body. Campuses typically also include dining halls where students can purchase food. Quick tips:
Continuity of Care is Essential
For students who may be under the care of a physician for a chronic condition, or those who already see a mental health provider, or have a mental health diagnosis, it is important to have a discussion with that provider about continuity of care while away at school. Options include finding another care provider nearby, conducting telemedicine visits, or utilizing your school's mental and physical health resource center.
Do you have any prescriptions you need while you are away at school? Here are some tips from our clinical pharmacist regarding continuity of care and prescription medications:
College is an exciting time, full of fun, independence, and self-growth; but remember that your health and safety should always be your top priority. While the main goal while away at college is to receive an education, we know there is a lot more to consider: social life, community living, recreation, and so much more. Always strive to find a safe balance between these aspects of your journey. Here are some of Ivira’s top safety tips:
Remember: If at any point, you are concerned that you or a friend may be thinking of self-harm or suicide, it is imperative you reach out for help.
Find your Student Counseling Services on campus
Find your local mental health crisis/suicide help line
The national Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988
Emergency line at 911
Get started with a few steps!
Put your patients in good hands.