Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and staff have worried over their students’ wellbeing, not always knowing how to help or where to suggest students go when the strain seems to affect their academic success.
“UNLV students are presenting to Student Counseling and Psychological Services for mental health services with increased symptoms of anxiety and depression,” said Shauna Landis, director of student counseling and psychological services.
Although statistics for UNLV students were not immediately available, Landis said student visits to CAPS seems to track with national data.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of American adults surveyed in June 2020 reported experiencing mental health symptoms. In the same study, 25.5 percent of respondents aged 18 to 25 reported seriously considering suicide.
“Students are contending with the challenges of navigating multiple stressors, such as financial pressures, job loss or changes, housing insecurity, grief or loss, and the demands of child/elder care,” Landis said. “Additionally, students are reporting increased stress related to the current socio-political climate and race-related stressors.”
The strain students are dealing with can be compounded as they and faculty grapple with many of the same stressors brought on by pandemic-driven changes in lifestyle, social isolation, and feelings of helplessness to improve the circumstances.
UNLV as an institution has worked to provide resources to help students, faculty and staff cope and stay healthy as they balance mental health needs with their academic and professional goals.
Landis recommends these tips and resources for helping students cope with the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For life-threatening emergencies, call 911 or go directly to a hospital emergency room. Dial 911 from a campus phone or (702) 895-3669 from a cell phone to reach University Police.
UNLV Support Team
Faculty and staff can play an invaluable role in helping students who are in distress. Expressions of interest, concern, and compassion are important factors that could nudge a student toward seeking assistance. The student of concern referral is a part of a comprehensive reporting system that helps foster a safe and supportive campus community. It allows faculty and staff at UNLV to share appropriate information about students for whom they are concerned. Staff and faculty, friends and family members of students in distress can complete the referral form to share pertinent information.
Call (702) 895-1404 with questions related to the UNLV Support Team or completing a Support Team referral.
The UNLV Support Team page also offers a faculty and staff guide to helping a student in distress as well as a free interactive online tutorial on how to navigate conversations regarding mental health with students. Staff and faculty can use the enrollment key "unlasvegas" to complete the interactive tutorial.
Student Counseling and Psychological Services
CAPS strives to facilitate and maintain the holistic well-being of UNLV students in support of their academic pursuits. CAPS uses a step-care model of services, including outreach programming, workshops, brief consultation, individual and group therapy, and same-day urgent services. Students in need of urgent services may contact CAPS at (702) 895-3627 for a same-day consultation Monday through Thursday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
CAPS also offers Therapy Assistance Online, which is a digital platform aimed at making behavioral health therapy more accessible, efficient, and effective. Through TAO Connect students have access to free and anonymous self-help tools that allow them to work on improving their behavioral health on their own schedule.
After hours emergency and crisis services:
- Desert Parkway Behavioral Health Hospital (24 hours): 877-663-7976
- Nevada Suicide Prevention Hotline (24 hours): 1-800-992-5757
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 hours): 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line (24 hours): Text CONNECT or HOME to 741741
- UNLV Care Line (confidential hotline for guidance about stalking, rape, and relationship violence; 24 hours): 702-895-0602
Employee Assistance Program
It is important to recognize that dealing with disruptive or distressed students can be psychologically and emotionally difficult. It may be helpful for faculty to discuss these issues with a colleague or supervisor or to seek professional stress debriefing assistance through the university’s Employee Assistance Program. More information is available at the UNLV Benefits Office, 702-895-3504.
Faculty and staff also have access to TAO Connect. The CDC also provides resources for coping with the pandemic.
Human Resource recently launched an online work-life space where faculty and staff can find support for achieving professional and personal balance and growth. Programs and services include low-cost health and wellness options, professional development opportunities, employee engagement groups, and more.