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Helping Students Manage Stress

February 4, 2000 -- Recent studies indicate that many college students are experiencing a great deal of stress. To help students learn how to manage stress successfully, the University of Virginia offers an expanding array of services and activities designed to promote healthy behaviors.

Soy Meets Girl

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, during a "Return to Wholeness" event, students can sip Zen tea, enjoy aromatherapy, relax with Satin hands (a hand massage with high-moisture lotion), and experiment with henna tattoos (designs painted on hands with a natural dye). The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Newcomb Hall.

Sponsored by UVACARES, a University committee dedicated to the education and prevention of eating disorders, the event will showcase a wide variety of holistic approaches to health, complementary medicine and wellness programs. Healthy food preparation will be demonstrated and a "Soy Meets Girl" session will be held.

The Mind’s The Thing

U.Va.’s Office of Health Promotion in the Student Health Department offers a one-credit mind-body class. Taught at Hereford College, the class explores varied forms of expression and relaxation including yoga.

U.Va.’s Intramural-Recreational Sports program also offers a variety of mind-body classes, such as several forms of yoga, T’ai chi chuan, Nia, mambo, Alexander technique and massage.

Peer Health Educators, students specially trained by the Office of Health Promotion, provide numerous outreach programs throughout the year. Programs include sessions on alcohol, sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, healthy eating, body image, women’s health and men’s health.

The Health Promotion Office also helps students with nutrition through individual appointments and outreach programs provided by the clinical nutritionist on staff.

Among the newer programs in the Student Health Department is the social norms marketing campaign, begun in 1998 as a long-term education and research effort to curb high-risk drinking among first-year (freshmen) students.

For more information on the Feb. 15 event and outreach programs, contact Marga Odahowski, assistant director of health promotion, at (804) 924-1509 or Information on the social norms campaign can be obtained from Elena Bertolotti, marketing coordinator, at (804) 924-2776 or

For more information on mind-body classes offered through Intramural-Recreational Sports, contact Amy Davidson, director of recreation instruction, at (804) 924-6200 or

The Threat of Mental Illness

In recognition of the increasing prevalence of serious psychopathology nationwide and the rising suicide rate among young people, Dr. James C. Turner, director of U.Va.’s Student Health Department, and Rafael Triana, director of U.Va.’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, have created a broad continuum of services and activities for students.

Services include: psychological and psychiatric assessment and referral; individual, couples and group psychotherapy; pharmacotherapy; emergency walk-in and crisis consultation; 24-hour on-call crisis consultation; and continuous communication with administrators, faculty, allied professionals, coaches, students and families. Triana calls such contacts "having eyes and ears open to students’ needs throughout the academic community."

Located in one newly expanded, recently reorganized center, the services and programs provide three distinct levels of intervention and prevention. The center’s psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers stay in close contact with clinical doctors, deans of students and residence-life students. "We emphasize prevention through early identification," Triana said.

The comprehensive approach, recently cited for excellence by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (U.Va.’s Student Health Department is one of only 25 universities accredited by the organization), is critical to ensure students’ mental health, Triana said. "Students’ mental health, with possible injury to themselves or others, represents the highest risk in the college health field," Triana said.

Ongoing therapy and support groups include: Interpersonal Process Group; Graduate Student Therapy Group; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Support Group; Overcoming Anxiety Group; and Executive Skills Group for Students with ADHD and/or LD.

For more information, contact Dr. James Turner at (804) 924-2670 or or Raphael Triana at (804) 924-5556 or

Take A Hike!

U.Va.’s Intramural-Recreational Sports department offers an increasing variety of outdoor exercise activities. For example, students are enrolling in introductory and intermediate rock climbing courses. More experienced climbers participate in a rock climbing anchor workshop that shows students how to create top-rope anchor systems. Advanced climbers can tackle a new crack climbing class.

Guides also take students along some of the best hiking trails in Virginia. U.Va’s Outdoor Recreation division, which can outfit hikers with backpacks, tents and basic equipment, offers hikes to diverse sites such as those featuring an 80-foot high waterfall and dramatic rock formations.

The division also offers whitewater kayaking classes. A Spring Break trip to Virginia’s coastal region will offer open-water kayak instruction and camping. The division provides kayakers with wetsuits, helmets and other necessary equipment.

Other programs to be offered this spring include an introductory horseback riding class in which riders will explore mountain countryside. A two-day course in fly fishing will cover fishing and casting fundamentals. A ski trip to West Virginia is also available.

For information on the outdoor activities, contact Mark Voorhees, director, at (804) 924-7700 or

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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