Student health 101

“College is all about learning, and learning to take care of yourself is essential,” Brittany Kupec, alcohol, drug and wellness educator with the UAA Student Health and Counseling Center, said.

The UAA Student Health and Counseling Center provides a multitude of services for students to maintain physical and mental health. Photo courtesy of the UAA Student Health and Counseling Center website.

Health can affect academic performance, and it is important for students to maintain healthy habits and choices during the school year.

“You can’t do your best in class if you’re not at your best in terms of your health, so taking care of yourself is super important, and that’s really what we’re here for,” Mary Woodring, director of Student Health, said.

The SHCC offers many services to students while they are on campus, including nutrition and diet information, discussing an exercise plan, immunizations, help with anxiety or depression, sexually transmitted infection testing, referrals to other providers and other physical and mental health needs.

The Health Center works to take care of the whole student, physically and mentally. Students are able to schedule appointments or can walk in to access the services. Services and results are also confidential to students 18 or older.

Students must have registered for six or more credits during the current semester for both fall and spring semesters, and have paid the student health services fee in their tuition to qualify for services. Many services are free to students who meet the requirements, and other services are offered at a discounted rate, which can help students to remain financially secure when seeking medical help.

Online students, or students visiting from other UA campuses, can opt to pay the fee to access the SHCC services as well.

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The basics of student health are simple, and students need to be mindful of healthy lifestyle habits. Healthy habits can build a healthier lifestyle, and are the foundation of taking care of yourself, according to Betty Bang, an advanced practice registered nurse and family health practitioner with the SHCC.

“Take good care of yourself. Get the basics: get enough sleep, get your seven hours of sleep a night, exercise every day, at least 30 minutes a day five times a week, eat nutritious food and drink water,” Bang said. 

Aside from physical health, the SHCC also works to assist students in maintaining their mental health.

“We can do total care for students with mental health problems,” Bang said. “If you have ADHD, if you’re lonesome, homesick, going through grief, suicidal, any of those things, you can come on in.”

The SHCC can work with students on crisis prevention and brief therapy throughout the semester, and if further treatment is needed, the SHCC professionals can refer students to facilities or resources off-campus.

Much like the foundations of physical health, mental health can be maintained through becoming part of the UAA community, and reaching out to other students, faculty or staff in times of need.

“If you’re having problems, talk to someone, come to the Health Center,” Bang said. “Get involved with something, so that you have a connection with other people on campus, rather than just run to class and run home.”

Another major aspect of the SHCC are the educational resources available to students. The center offers lectures and classes on topics including depression, anxiety, sexual health and self care. Many programs are peer-delivered, which connects students with other UAA students during the training and lectures.

“We do education and outreach, letting people know about the Student Health and Counseling Center,” Kupec said. “We do education presentations on bystander intervention for sexual assault and violence, and gatekeeper suicide prevention training.”

Kupec also facilitates an assortment of programs including drug and alcohol awareness, self-care, wellness practices and other health education training to the campus community.

With a plethora of resources, the SHCC is a starting point for students to take a proactive approach to a healthy lifestyle.

“Health is important to everybody, because you can’t perform your best if you’re not feeling well. Health is kind of a spectrum between being really ill and sort of feeling ok, to being at your premium self,” Woodring said. “People perform their best when they’re healthy.”

The Student Health and Counseling Center on Rasmuson Hall’s first floor is one of the many facilities available to students. Photo credit: Jay Guzman

The SHCC is located in Rasmuson Hall in rooms 116/120, and is open on Mondays-Wednesdays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Appointments can be walk-in or scheduled by phone at (907) 786-4040.