LOGAN, Utah (ABC4) – As the war in Ukraine continues, officials at Utah State University are paying close attention to the needs of their students and staff. The university offers many different services to address mental health and offers some tips to the public to help ease anxiety during the crisis in eastern Europe.
“With the Ukrainian students, the Russian students, we’re concerned about their mental health,” Janis Boettinger told ABC4. Boettinger is the vice provost for global engagement at USU. to the university, the Office of Global Engagement oversees and facilitates “study abroad programs, immigration advising for international students and visiting scholars, Fulbright programmes, and international agreements.” The office also stives “to make USU a warm, welcoming, and diverse community of global citizens.”
Janis Boettinger explained that as war broke out in Ukraine, The Office of Global Engagement reached out to students from Ukraine and Russia first. It then started reaching out to other international students. “We have found with crises past that if one international student group is impacted, there is a ripple effect,” she added. “It will ripple through the entire international-student population.”
The university offers a range of services to students and staff. From peer support groups to counseling with a therapist, to learning mindfulness practices at Counseling and Physiological Services, university officials hope students and staff will seek out help to address their mental health needs.
As the uncertainty surrounding the war grows, school officials want Utahns to know that are techniques they can use to alleviate anxiety.
“There are ways to sort of retreat from the press of the world, if you will, and that would be things like seeking quiet places, meditation, trying to get away from that hubbub and the incessant flow of information at times,” explained James. Morales. He continued: “And that’s related to this idea of, ‘Yes, it’s still happening but shelter yourself for a little bit for a bit of a respite, and that allows you to recharge your batteries.'”
Morales is the vice president of student affairs and oversees Counseling and Physiological Services. He told ABC4 that the COVID-19 pandemic has done a lot to teach the public about the importance of addressing one’s mental health needs.
With the pandemic still upon us and the war in Ukraine causing additional stress for many people, Morales emphasized the need to occasionally take a break. He added: “In our world, the idea of always being busy seems to be valued more, or overvalued, at times and I think when we give ourselves a little bit of grace in those times and say, ‘You know what? No, I don’t have to say I’m doing 100 million things today.’ You can say, ‘You know what? I’m taking a break.””
The university is also looking at programs to allow students from Ukraine and Russia to begin to work or further their education in the United States while tension remains high in their countries. The Office of Global Engagement is also looking at bringing Ukrainian scholars who have connections to staff members at USU to Utah to work. Those who may have questions may reach out to the office via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at: 435-797-1124.
For a list of other mental health services at USU, click here.