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Concordia University holds mental health training session for RA's ahead of upcoming semester

According to a recent study by the CDC, 63% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 reported experiencing significant symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 19:23:54-04

MEQUON, Wis. — For the past three years, senior Olivia Hartwig has been a resident assistant (RA) at Concordia University. During all three years, she said she's dealt with students struggling with mental health issues.

"I felt as though the pandemic brought more bouts of isolation and loneliness in a lot of residents," said Hartwig.

That's why Hartwig, along with dozens of other RA's, university staff, and more spent their Monday taking part in a training session to learn how to "show up" for others.

"There are unfortunately very common crisis situations on campus. Training sessions like this I think allow us to be capable of providing care and being there for our peers and being able to walk alongside them," said Concordia University senior and assistant resident director, AJ Theisz.

Officials say they're focusing on hosting more mental health initiatives after seeing an increase in students using the University's counseling services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, 63% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 reported experiencing significant symptoms of anxiety and depression.

"Our world has changed so much. Whether it's from Covid, whether it's from the use of screens, that being together can be really awkward and people do tend to sometimes isolate," said Jen Marr, the founder of Inspiring Comfort.

Marr, who hosted Monday's training session, says the biggest thing people can learn to do is to become comfortable with sharing empathy and compassion with others.

"This gap exists. Everybody says I can tell when somebody is struggling but yet the high majority also say nobody sees me when I am struggling so we went to fill that gap with action," said Marr.

She says in doing so, you just might be able to save a life.

"It is really comforting to know that people who you may not know super well feel the exact same way as you. You're not feeling this alone," said Hartwig.

School officials say they expect to host a larger training session in October regarding mental health for nearly 500 students.

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