Alma College is welcoming back the old tradition of therapy dog and rescue kitten events. Students can now also schedule light therapy, Let’s Talk sessions and use of a massage chair through the Wilcox Health Center.
Mental health concerns have been on the rise and many college campuses are seeing the impacts. Luckily, Alma has increased their resources and has a variety of therapeutic options for students.
“The Wilcox Health Center has a Wellness Room with a Light Therapy box. Light therapy has been found to be an effective method in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder,” said Anne Lambrecht, Associate Vice President of Student Life and Director of Counseling and Health at Alma College.
“The process is easy and the benefits great. The individual sits in front of a light box for a specific amount of time, usually 20-30 minutes. Response usually starts in a few days and by two weeks the symptoms usually improve, and most people need to continue light therapy throughout the winter,” said Lambrecht.
Another option is to schedule a low-commitment appointment with one of our counselors. “Let’s Talk is a 15-minute meeting with a Mental Health Counselor,” said Lambrecht.
“Counselors can listen to specific problems, help explore solutions and introduce you to what it’s like to speak with a member of our staff,” said Lambrecht. This is a great way to test out counseling and gain a listening ear.
Many students were especially excited to hear about the animal events returning. “Being away from home is extremely difficult for some students, and part of the reason is being away from the pets/animals that they have at home,” said Taylor Stenger (‘24).
“I wanted to attend because I love how playful kittens can be, and they are just loving creatures,” said Sydney Rudolph (‘24).
“I think that the event was very beneficial for students across campus. Everyone that attended seemed to be in good spirits and knowing that we were bringing joy to animals really makes the experience that much better,” said Stenger.
“For me personally, it was a nice reason to leave my room and get out of my own head a little. As far as an actual stress reliver though, I found more enjoyment from the therapy dog events,” said Adam Short (‘24). Whether you are a cat or a dog person, there is an event available for you.
“Studies have shown that a person holding or petting an animal will cause a lowering of blood pressure, the release of strain and tension and can draw out a person from loneliness and depression,” said Lambrecht.
While these new additions and returning events are great, students also have ideas of other events that could be held.
“I think more events focused on practicing coping skills could be a great way to bring people together, remind them they are not alone and allow students to leave with practical skills they can continue using,” said Short.
“I think if we did music therapy, a lot of people would attend as long as it is well advertised,” said Rudolph.
“Zumba nights or yoga nights would be super beneficial for students,” said Stenger.
There is another, new, upcoming event planned. “Wednesday, November 16th from 5:00-6:15 pm at the Wilcox Health Center: Grieving Through the Holidays is an educational and support group for those struggling with grief and loss through the holiday season. This group is free and open to students experiencing any type of loss or grief. Please sign up by emailing Molly Pocsi at pocsime@ alma.edu,” said Lambrecht.
Students can sign up for light therapy or massage chairs by visiting: https://titanium. alma.edu/TitaniumWeb/. The password is almaCWC.