Campus Life

Students find stress relief as final exams approach

The weather is getting hotter, the days are longer and final exams are looming at the University of West Florida. Students need not worry, though, as the campus has a number of services designed to help students relieve the stress of the university experience and life in general. April and May are stress and mental health awareness months, and UWF has lots to offer for both.

On Dec. 9, 2011, UWF took a big step in treating stress and promoting mental health on campus by combining the Health, Wellness and Counseling Services departments into a one-stop-shop under one roof, at the Health, Wellness and Counseling Services complex in Building 960.

Counseling Services offers free counseling and therapy from certified psychologists and therapists to help students address stress associated with school and life. Wellness Services offers health promotion services that assist with alcohol abuse and misuse prevention, sexual health promotion and sexual assault prevention.

In addition to individual attention and help from a staff of licensed practitioners, the departments offer a series of free workshops to help students actively combat stress on a variety of levels.

“We offer mediation and conflict resolution, as well as workshops teaching healthy relationships and how to cope with grief and loss,” said Brian Turner, a licensed psychologist in Wellness Services. “Any student can contact us and we are happy to work with them.”

In addition to these services, the departments work in conjunction with Student Affairs and other departments on campus to offer a variety of other techniques to treat stress.

  • Recreation and Sports Services offers free group fitness classes as a way to reduce stress during finals. Physical activity promotes mental wellbeing and helps students focus on activities other than worry and stress.
  • The Great Escape, hosted by Student Affairs, has been an annual fall tradition at UWF for 12 years and serves as a time of stress relief before exam week. Each year in the Commons on campus, the event features themed destinations and free entertainment, food and prizes, which help students take their mind off the stress and focus on friends and fun.

“College campuses are a place where people are really challenged for the first time and is many people’s first experience of being on their own,” said Turner. “This puts them in a position to challenge themselves academically and socially, and the campus offers a variety of methods to help with that challenge.”

As for relieving stress on one’s own, Turner recommends self-care and spending time with friends while engaging in relaxing activities.

“In order to relax, do something you love,” said Turner. “Find what resources are available to you, whether that be friends, family or professional help, and take advantage of those.”

All services are free to all students on campus. Interested students seeking counseling can call 474-2420 for an appointment Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 474-2000 to speak with someone off hours. Students can expect individual, couple or group counseling, as well as referral information, depending on the needs and desires of the student.

For more information on counseling and wellness services offered by UWF, visit