Providing and Receiving Help During Times of Stress

Dear Students:

As you finish up classes and your academic work, I am writing with the recognition that this can be an extremely stressful time of year.

Some stress is a normal part of everyone’s life, but at times stress can become overwhelming. I encourage you, as part of the U.Va. community, to do two things: 1. Reach out to friends or classmates who appear to be overwhelmed by stress and some of its manifestations, such as sleeplessness, changes in eating habits, or an unusual reaction out of proportion to a routine event; 2. Seek help from University resources if you are dealing with similar issues.

How do you know if stress is affecting you or your friends in negative ways? The symptoms of stress include: irritability; self-medication (by using non-prescription drugs, alcohol, or food to combat stress); a compromised immune system; feeling as though you don’t have time to relax; exhaustion, a lack of energy or a sense of dread; memory problems; an inability to concentrate; poor judgment; seeing only the negative; anxious or racing thoughts; and constant worrying. Thoughts of harming oneself or others represent stress and depression in the most extreme form.

If you see any of these patterns of stress and depression in your own life, or in your friends’ or peers’, it is important to seek help. Several offices at the University can help:

  • Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (often referred to as “CAPS”): 434-243-5150 for appointments; 434-972-7004 for after-hours emergencies.
  • Office of the University Dean of Students: 434-924-7133; second floor of Peabody Hall.
  • University Police: 434-924-7166; 911 for emergencies.

Please know that we are here to support your success. Also, remember that it is never a sign of weakness to ask for help. Indeed, it’s a healthy sign of self-awareness and care.

Best wishes as you finish up this semester, and do not hesitate to contact me or my colleagues in Student Affairs if you have questions or concerns.


Allen M. Groves University Dean of Students

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