RRC Introduces new ReliefLine services to deal with student stress

By Kailynn Newediuk

Students spend the afternoon studying in the Buhler Learning Commons at the Red River College Exchange Campus on Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2018./KAILYNN NEWEDIUK

College students say they want to give perfection when it comes to their homework and assignments, but are experiencing more stress because of it. Now Red River College (RRC) introduces some new services to help students cope with anxiety.

RRC offers a list of support services on their website, which include counselling, Red River ReliefLine, and the Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative. Red River ReliefLine is a new, online peer support text service that allows students to have conversations with listeners and access therapeutic exercises. The Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative provides students with mindfulness training and short, daily lessons to practice stress management.

“I like to get things done early and I’m a perfectionist,” said Erin Jung, a second year studying Digital Media Design at RRC. “It’s not problematic, I know when to stop.”

Jung said that she feels stressed because of her workload as well as expectations placed on her.

Parul Kansal is in her second term of Business Technology Management at RRC and said she’s trying to get a good co-op placement.

“I always want to get the most marks I can,” Kansal said when asked if she considers herself a perfectionist.

Red River College’s Mental Health Coordinator, Breanna Sawatzky, said she’s noticed that students deal with multiple stress factors in the first term. Sawatzky said that most of the stress college students experience is the result of a combination of factors, but that the leading stressor for students is anxiety.

Anxiety ranges from a clinical disorder to a feeling of worry about future assignments and deadlines.

The tables in the Buhler Learning Commons at the Exchange Campus are occupied by students spending their afternoon on class work on Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2018./KAILYNN NEWEDIUK

Sawatzky said deep breathing and muscle relaxation can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and that students should practice using “coping thoughts.” This thought process will turn any negative thoughts students have into positive affirmation.

For example, Sawatzky explained instead of saying “This is too difficult,” students should say, “This is difficult right now, but I’ll get through this.”

Sawatzky said these techniques are most effective when practiced daily and not only when students are in stressful situations, so that they can become more instinctive.

Students say they have different techniques when it comes to managing their stress. Jung said she prefers to paint to relieve her stress.  Kansal said, “I take some paper… and whatever I feel, I write.”

Sawatzky said that individual time is good, but that the positive relationships students make with people are “golden.”

As students, it’s easy to get lost in school work and other responsibilities, but it’s important to prioritize mental health.

More information can be found online at Red River ReliefLine and the Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative.