Wellness board at 4Cs. Photo courtesy of Jarod Deegan.

By Victoria Chiaramonte

This article is a part of the MainSheets Mental Wellness series.

We have touched on many different struggles in this mental health series. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, opioids and self-harm have all been discussed throughout this journey, but how to handle these hurdles is what we really need to know in order to take that next step towards living a more fulfilling life. In a world where everything is solely online now due to the Coronavirus, it can be hard to interact with those who can help you, but there are still many resources ready to help anyone who is in need.

The Wellness Center is still only a call away from guiding you into the safest, healthiest options for you to step forward from whatever your mental struggle may be. If a student feels as though they are ever sad or lonely because of any circumstance, they are more than welcome and encouraged to call the Wellness Center to receive help in their current situation.

“We have the CALM team and the behavioral intervention team if someone is really in distress, but it is sort of interesting because as higher education has evolved with the times there has been much more focus on what we call the wraparounds,” said Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) President John Cox. “Not only in the classroom with students only learning, it’s also behind the scenes to support the students knowing that in today’s day and age there’s this increased level of anxiety that research has identified. The whole notion that we have a food pantry on campus to take care of the more immediate need of the student that doesn’t have adequate food sustenance to him or herself and the housing security issue that we know we have students that are rather challenged on that front. So, there are so many critical aspects of the process of trying to enable a student to succeed. Along that educational pathway that we have here, we have to make sure that they have the foundation to make it day to day through the struggles of the challenges that they face. So, we have to increase the resources on the student support side and we’re continuing to look at that.”

Every day, 4Cs is actively making strides for the students’ mental health and wellbeing to be as healthy as possible. It’s not always easy with the number of students that we have that are suffering with some kind of mental struggles, but the college has made a huge impact in getting students to open up and get the proper help they need.

“It really changes on a day-to-day basis the student that comes in the door and what we’re doing is trying to assess the situation and how we provide for you. Do you need food? Can we connect you to the food pantry on campus? Can we connect you to resources in the community if it has to do with housing and shelter student and find out what’s the resource that we can connect you to today? What’s your goal for this week and how can we help you achieve that goal?” said Dean Christine McCarey.

Every mental goal can be accomplished if we take the right steps into recovery from whatever state we are in. Of course, this is never easy, but if successful, it leads to a stronger mind that can take on the battles of the world.

With the Coronavirus being such a huge factor that impacts our society with negativity and fear, it can be easy to go down a psychological road that leads to hopelessness and despair. Although this may be the case for a lot of faculty, students and citizens, there are coping mechanisms and ways to change your perspective on this tragedy.

Try to think of the good that may come from this. That statement can seem nearly impossible and confusing to those who are really struggling, but it is possible if you approach the situation at a positive angle. While you are home and maybe even isolated, think of all the things you are able to do now at home that you may have been too busy to ever think about doing before. Maybe you finally have time to clean out a closet you have always been meaning to organize, or maybe you have always wanted to make a particular meal that before would have been impossible to fit into your schedule. Taking this opportunity to do the things you wouldn’t have been able to do before is a great way for positivity to begin to grow in our minds.

Continue to focus on what you are in control of. No one can control what happens in the outside world, but we can control how we approach situations and our own actions. Coming to terms with the fact that some things are out of our control can be difficult, but it is vital to having a healthy and stable mindset. Beginning to look at how you can manage your own life and make changes within yourself that will better your wellbeing is a great way to let go of your expectations of the world and relax in knowing that you are only meant to handle what is in your immediate control.

Exercise is a great way to stay positive and keep busy. Staying active is a great way to release stress and take care of yourself physically and mentally in these trying times.

“Exercise can boost immunity and boost endorphins, which are the ‘feel good chemicals’ in our brains,” said Aaron Pachas, a personal trainer and student at 4Cs. “When you feel good, you are more likely to have a positive outlook on any situation.”

In everything we do these days positivity is key, because having the right perspective in every situation creates a stress-free environment for yourself and the people around you. If you are struggling, please use the resources available to you and reach out. You are not alone.