CSU Health Network helps students manage stress

Gabriel Go

Stress is something that most college students face. From tight deadlines to being homesick, juggling responsibilities and managing stress can be a handful. 

That is why the Colorado State University Health Network has been putting an effort into helping students learn how to manage stress.

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A Futuristic Nap Pod located in the new Health Center is available for reservations up to 24-Hours in advance. An entire relaxation room has been added to the New Health Center. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

“If you interact with students on campus, the common language that students would endorse is a sense of being stressed out or overwhelmed,” said Anne Hudgens, the executive director of the CSU Health Network . According to a 2015 report by the American Collegiate Health Association, there is a growing trend among college campuses nationwide towards students wanting help with stress management.

CSU is no stranger to this trend. CSU-related data extrapolated from the same report suggests that CSU students reported stress, anxiety and sleep difficulties as academic impacts, said Kate Hadgorn, associate director of communications for the Health Network.

The data’s figures estimate that 34 percent of CSU students reported stress as an academic impact, 27 percent reported anxiety and 24 percent reported sleep difficulty, as of 2015. 

In light of these findings, the Health Network took advantage of their new Health and Medical Center to continue their initiatives against stress by investing in the creation of the Still Point Reflection Room.

The Still Point Reflection Room is a space where students can relax, reflect and meditate. The reflection room is stocked with chairs, yoga mats and blankets for students seeking to unwind during the day. The reflection room also houses the only relaxation pod on campus.

Health Network officials said because the reflection room was created as part of the entire building’s budget of $48 million, the exact cost of the room and its equipment were not readily available. Officials said funding came from donors, self-generated revenue and student health fees.

The pod is an $8,000 accoutrement included in the room’s equipment cost and allows students to relax and nap for 20 minutes at a time. The equipment allows the user to enclose themselves from the outside and comes with adjustable lights, sound and a massage chair. It is recommended students schedule pod use in advance, but the room itself is free to use at any time.

However, the reflection room and its pod is not the definitive solution to stress management. Hudgens said the reflection room is an opportunity to continue their existing stress management programs.

“When we’re talking about the pod, I really want to make sure that I’m talking about programs and services we’re offering related to stress management,” Hudgens said. “The pod is one little piece of it, rather than its own deal.”

Other stress management programs by the Health Network include You@CSU, an online portal that connects students to personalized health resources. The Health Network’s website also includes an article advising students how to handle challenging world events.

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Though Hadgorn said there are no current plans to acquire more relaxation pods, the reflection room’s pod is proving quite popular among students.

Junior ethnic studies major Claudia Quiroz said while she was initially skeptical of the pod, she enjoyed using the pod’s relaxation features. Quiroz said she was feeling tired that day, prompting her to use the reflection room.

“I really enjoyed it,” Quiroz said. “Self-care is probably one of the biggest reasons kids are stressed out on campus. I think we all forget to take care of ourselves … so it’s a nice time to leave that all behind.”

Collegian reporter Gabriel Go can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rgabrielgo.