Your overall health and wellness is a combination of both your physical health and your mental health. While maintaining your physical health by sleeping well, eating well, and exercising frequently is important, so is managing your mental health, avoiding harmful behaviors, and taking care not to abuse alcohol or drugs. If any health problems do arise, having health insurance and knowing the location of the nearest doctor’s office or hospital is imperative to ensuring your eventual well-being.
Preparing for Illness and Medical Emergencies: It’s better to be prepared for a medical emergency than to be scrambling when the time comes. Find a local doctor, know who to call when you’re sick, and keep a first aid kit in your room for minor injuries or illnesses.
Getting Enough Exercise as a Student: Many colleges have free exercise facilities for students, but you don’t have to hit the gym to stay fit. Take the stairs, walk to class, or join an intramural team for the same benefits.
Sleeping Longer and Better in College: College students need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Skip the all-nighter, avoid evening caffeine, and turn off your phone to get the best rest.
Eating Well on and off Campus: Eating only macaroni and cheese may be delicious, but it’s not the best choice for your heart. Scope out the dining hall for better options, or learn how to cook for yourself.
Food Allergies and College Dining: Being on a meal plan might be hard if you suffer from a severe food allergy, but it doesn’t have to inhibit your college experience. You may be able to bring your own dishes, prepare your own food, or receive help from a nutritionist.
Managing a Chronic Illness on Campus: Knowing what resources are offered by your school and speaking to the dean of students, the disability office, and your professors ahead of time will make your life much easier.
Anxiety: Some anxiety is normal, but constant or debilitating anxiety indicates an underlying condition that shouldn’t go undiagnosed. Anxiety is treated with both medication and therapy.
Eating Disorders: Eating disorders are indicative of poor body image and the obsession to reach a body “ideal.” Instead of becoming healthy, people with eating disorders may experience malnutrition, kidney failure, or heart attacks and should get medical attention.
Depression: Depression can be experienced seasonally or persist for years at a time. While the sadness, lack of motivation, and exhaustion may seem overwhelming, depression is manageable with medication and/or therapy.
Suicidal Thoughts: If you or someone you care about is having suicidal thoughts, call emergency services. No one is alone, things do get better, and there are treatment options.
Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, and affects an individual's energy levels, activity levels, and ability to complete everyday tasks. Mood episodes are either manic or depressive.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD can affect anyone who has experienced a trauma and may cause flashbacks, changes in mood, or hyperawareness. With antidepressants and therapy, traumatic events lose their effect.
Supporting Yourself and Others: If you’re dealing with your own or a friend’s mental illness, your friends, family, and campus resources are there to support you and want you to succeed.
Understanding Sexual Health: Whether or not you choose to be sexually active, your sexual health is your responsibility, from making routine doctor’s appointments to understanding the relationship between your sexuality and your physical and emotional well-being.
Consent: Consent and respect are the cornerstones of any relationship, from the early stages of dating all the way through marriage. Drugs and alcohol make consent impossible to give or obtain.
Birth Control Options: There are many forms of contraception, but just a few protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Talk to your doctor about what type of birth control is right for you.
Sexually Transmitted Infections: Almost everyone will contract a sexually transmitted infection in their lifetime, but fortunately, many are curable. Regular testing can catch any asymptomatic infections and keep your body healthy.
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault encompasses any sexual activity that was performed without the consent of an individual. Often, drugs and alcohol are used to facilitate assault. You can’t always prevent assault, but you can learn how to react if something happens to you.
Am I Using, Misusing, or Abusing: Using any substance for a purpose outside of that for which it is intended is misuse, which can lead to abuse in the future.
General Signs of Student Substance Abuse: Individuals who are addicted to, dependent on, or abusing substances may experience both mental and physical side effects.
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Many students drink socially, but when students begin to binge drink or become dependent on alcohol, the situation is more dangerous.
Cigarettes, Tobacco, and Nicotine Addiction: Nicotine is easy to access, highly addictive, and can lead to a number of health problems in users.
Recreational Drug Abuse: Recreational drugs, besides alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana, are illegal in the United States, but many students choose to experiment regardless.
Seeking Help for an Overdose: Taking too much of any drug or mixing different substances can lead to an overdose, which may result in death. Immediate medical attention is a necessity.
How to Support Your Friend through Recovery: If a friend is suffering, speak up, be supportive, and reach out to a professional. Your health is just as important as your friends’.
Abusive Relationships: Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual, but it is never okay. The most important thing to do in an abusive relationship is to get out of it.
Self-Injury: While self-injury is generally not a sign of impending suicide, it is a dangerous and unhealthy mechanism for coping with stress, anxiety, sadness, or anger.
Options for Coverage: Everyone in the United States is required to have health insurance, and schools often require students to be insured. From being covered by a parent to purchasing insurance through the federal marketplace, there are many options for coverage.
Choosing a Health Insurance Plan: Choosing a plan involves deciding how much coverage you want, how likely you are to need medical care, what you’re willing to pay each month, and how much you’re willing to pay each time you visit the doctor.