Tips from CAPS: 5 mental health suggestions for Wayne State students

By University Counselor Patti Dixon, LMSWbreathing student

Paying close attention to your mental health can help reduce the development of a mental illness. Stigma often prevents people from seeking mental health services. Making services easily accessible for students helps reduce the impact of mental health symptoms and improves the chance of successful completion of a college program.

There are things you can do for yourself to reduce the risk of mental health symptoms overwhelming you.

Become self-aware

This starts by taking a breather. We usually breathe without thinking. Taking a moment to breathe communicates to the rest of your body that you are safe. It slows the automatic fight/flight/freeze response. It helps to manage stress, including blood pressure and heart rate.

Evaluate how you are feeling. Notice your thoughts, feelings and body.

A simple method of breathing is to sit up straight, breathe deeply in through your nose for a count of 10 using your diaphragm, hold the breath for a count of 8 and blow the breath out through your mouth for a count of 6. Repeat at least 3 times.sleeping cat

Be kind and compassionate to yourself

Take a moment to do something that makes you happy. Identify things that make you feel positive, happy and confident. Listen to your self-talk and make sure you are supporting positive mindsets. Self-talk works best when it is kind. Remind yourself you are doing the best you can in the moment.

Create good habits

What you do contributes to how you think and feel. Sleep, exercise and nutrition affect your mental state. Try getting to bed 10 minutes earlier every night, taking a walk and participating in wellness activities. Talk to fellow students and find out what they do.

Avoid creating bad habits

Take time to recognize when your activities, thoughts and feelings contribute to the development of mental health symptoms. Binge eating, excessive caffeine and substance use may escalate your symptoms. Paying attention to your choices helps turn things around.healthy food

Managing bad habits by using your five senses can help. Stimulate your sense of smell with candles and other invigorating scents. Listen to music or spend five minutes outside to hear the sounds of nature. Even in the city, there are nature sounds to be heard.

Choose healthy foods and try to experience the meal by eating slowly. Be aware of what you touch and how it feels. These things can ground you for a moment and help you choose more effective ways to cope with stress and anxiety.

Reach out for help

At Wayne State University, there are many resources available to help you cope with mental health symptoms.helping hands

As always, keep in mind that CAPS is here for you!

You can reach out directly to Embedded Counselor Patti Dixon at 313-577-3243 or If you need help after hours or on the weekend, call CAPS at 313-577-9982.

WSU Applebaum offers dedicated Counseling and Psychological Services support to students on a group or individual basis. To get started, visit and complete the initial consultation form, making sure to note that you are an EACPHS student.

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