Education News – Psychologist pens emotional crisis guide for students

EDMONTON (CUP) ? University students face a daunting amount of pressure and stress, which can stem from school, work, and relationships.

With that in mind, a University of Alberta psychologist created a guide to help students cope with emotional crisis.

Kim Maertz has been working at the U of A’s University Health Centre Student Counselling Services for 10 years, and he says creating the guide was necessary to make sure his office is able to aid students who seek help.

?Over the last several years, we’ve had a lot of students who are experiencing various forms of crisis, and because we unfortunately don’t have nearly enough staff, we’ve got to find a way to try to meet the needs without seeing clients only for individual counselling,? he said.

According to Maertz, the university should have 19 psychologists to accommodate its student population, but his office has five. This discrepancy is what pushed Maertz to write the guide, and in the process, get the necessary information out to students.

Using his years of experience with Student Counselling Services and a PhD in counselling psychology, Maertz was able to provide another resource for students on campus.

?I think that [my experience] has put me in a position where I know what information to draw on and have accumulated some just from working with clients over the 10 years. [I wanted to] put it out there so that It’s in an easy, succinct, readable form for students who are facing all kinds of emotional crises,? he said.

The guide itself is divided into three sections: ways to identify whether you are a student in crisis, general strategies to deal with crisis, and resources to deal with those situations or suicidal thoughts.

Distribution to students will take place through residences, faculties, and the Student Counselling Services office.

?We see a lot of clients, and as a result, when they come in on what we call initial consultations, and we’re unable to accommodate them, we’ll send them away with a guide,? Maertz said.

Maertz says the amount of students seeking help for coping with depression isn’t surprising, and he attributes part of the problem to stress related to finances.

?Students are probably working more jobs today than they’ve ever worked in the past. Previously, I think a lot of students had funding from parents, and today, a lot of students are doing it on their own,? he said.

?If You’re working one, two, sometimes we have students with three jobs and they’re taking full-time classes?how could you not end up stressed out?? Maertz added.

In working with the university’s clients, Maertz feels there are three major issues facing students: depression, stress, and relationships.

He says school isn’t the only aspect of a student’s life that can be difficult, which is why he hopes students will take advantage of the free help the guide provides.

?The degree of stress today on the university campus is quite enormous. Students don’t just end up today dealing with classes, but they’re dealing with a wide variety of other stresses.?

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