Date: October 31, 2013
To: All University Students
As October comes to a close and just over six weeks of classes remain in the semester, I'm reaching out to briefly discuss two important issues. I respectfully ask that you take a brief five minutes to read what follows.
The first issue is alcohol. I recognize that most students do not engage in hazardous drinking. Those who do place their own health and safety at risk, and also impact their friends around them. Each year at this time, we see an increase in alcohol consumption and the often serious consequences that follow. Having had a gifted student lose her life earlier this year as a result of taking the drug "Molly," I also strongly urge you to avoid placing yourself at risk by taking something like this or similar club/party drugs, the actual chemical composition (purity) of which you have no way of knowing.
You've heard me (and others) talk about the importance of being an engaged bystander - intervening when a friend's alcohol consumption has placed them at risk. We know from the 2013 Health Survey that 90 percent of UVa students believe that it is their responsibility to intervene when they see a problem unfolding (unsafe alcohol consumption, potential sexual misconduct, etc.). I am grateful that so many of you understand the importance of this, and call 911 or seek other assistance when you see someone at risk.
At the bottom of this email are resources and tips provided by your peers on the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) and my colleagues in the Gordie Center on Rugby Road.
The second issue I want to discuss with you is the increased stress many students feel as the semester winds down. We are already seeing higher incidents of students feeling anxiety or even depression, and it is very important that you learn to recognize the signs of this in yourself and your friends.
Symptoms of excessive or unhealthy stress include irritability, self-medication (using over-the-counter medications, alcohol, or food to combat stress), a compromised immune system, feeling unable to relax, exhaustion, lack of energy or sense of dread, memory problems or inability to concentrate, poor judgment, seeing only the negative in events, high anxiety or racing thoughts, and constant worrying. In the most extreme cases, there can be thoughts of harming oneself (or others). While such thoughts may not manifest in action, it is still important to recognize these thoughts (especially if recurring) and seek assistance at the Counseling Center in Student Health (CAPS) or the Emergency Room.
Please know that you should always call 911 in an emergency situation, as the police are trained to help get a person safely to the resources needed. You can also call my office at 434-924-7133 (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or the dean-on-call after hours and on weekends (reachable by calling the University Police at 434-924-7166). The professionals at CAPS can be reached during the day (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) at 434-243-5150 or after hours at 434-972-7004.
Important tips for reducing stress are listed at the bottom of this email. I hope that you will hold on to them in case you need to refer back in the future.
Tips Around Alcohol
If you see even one sign of alcohol overdose, call 911. If you are unsure, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for confidential, expert advice.
Tips Around Stress
Allen W. Groves
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Last Modified: Friday, 01-Nov-2013 10:40:44 EDT
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