In response to anxiety among students, the Counseling Center is hosting a drop-in Anxiety Reduction Group.
For many students, part of college is learning to manage mental health. Academics, relationships, separation from home and family and financial worries can be sources of anxiety for students. According to the counseling center website, the anxiety reduction group is an opportunity to learn how to help manage anxiety while sharing and discussing ideas and strategies with others.
The group meets weekly on Wednesdays in Meeting Room 110 on the lower level of the Agnes Flanagan Chapel from 3 to 4 p.m. The group is open to all Lewis & Clark students and is designed to accommodate the needs of any anxiety-related issues.
Counseling Center Staff Therapist Glenn Jacob-Oviatt currently runs the group and wants it to be a resource for students during their studies at LC.
“Thinking about anxiety is certainly prevalent in our culture, especially thinking about young adults being in the process of learning so much,” said Jacob-Oviatt. “It naturally is stressful as we are learning more about ourselves and having our thoughts and preconceptions about things be challenged whether through curriculum, friends, or just further engagement with the community.”
The group was created for students to talk about their experiences and identify how and what anxiety looks like, as well as develop skills to overcome these feelings.
“College campuses in the U.S. have very high rates of anxiety and a lot of that is helping provide a space for students to talk about their experience but also to identify and work on skills that would be helpful for regulating anxiety, even identifying it,” Jacob-Oviatt said. “Sometimes it feels nebulous and difficult to define, so having that space to slow it down and share with other people in a safe environment can be really helpful.”
U.S. college campuses have high rates of anxiety. According to a 2022 American College Health Association, 35% of students said they have been diagnosed with anxiety. Roughly 77% of this student sample had an appointment or discussion about anxiety with a healthcare professional.
The LC group is student-guided based on the needs of attendees. Currently, the groups have had a very small attendance.
“The groups have only been one or two people per a time. It ends up being an individually directed conversation. It can start with individual experiences of anxiety, but also loneliness,” Jacob-Oviatt said. “The group is certainly open to talking about the context we are in right now socially in the U.S. and the world can influence constant feelings of worry or fear of the state of the world or fear of our sense of safety. Hopefully, as more students are engaged, these topics might come up naturally.”
When asked what are the main sources of anxiety for students and the attendees of the group Jacob-Oviatt said it was COVID-19.
“COVID and health has been a very common concern,” said Jacob-Oviatt. “Other concerns that have come up have been related to social anxiety and connecting with people.”
Anxiety among students has certainly peaked among students since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2020 Active Minds study, 89% of college students have experienced stress or anxiety as a result of the pandemic. Sources of pandemic-related anxiety include fear and worry for one’s own health and of their loved ones, difficulty concentrating, disruptions to sleeping patterns and decreased social interactions due to social distancing measures.