Wellness: A condition of good physical, mental and spiritual health.
The Saint Louis University Wellness Initiative was developed based on the understanding that each of us consists of a body, mind and soul, all of which require care and nourishment. When one area of a person's life is out of balance, all areas are affected. Neglect of any of these vital aspects of self may lead to difficulties in finding success and fulfillment as a student and a member of the SLU community.
Browse through this site to explore ways you can develop all six dimensions of wellness (emotional, physical, intellectual, social, occupational, spiritual) with the goal of achieving greater personal wellness.
Resources to Keep You Healthy: Mind, Body and Spirit
Please note: If this is a medical emergency please call 911 immediately. If you are in immediate danger please call 911.
Students should know that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for college students, and the main reason is untreated depression.
There are more than 1,100 suicides on U.S. college campuses every year. According to the American Psychological Association, depression as a college illness has increased about 10 percent over the last 10 years.
Some common signs of depression are:
- Depressed mood (can be sad, down, grouchy or irritable)
- Change in sleeping patterns (too much, too little or disturbed)
- Change in weight or appetite (decreased or increased)
- Speaking &/or moving with unusual speed or slowness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or guilt
- Feelings of hopelessness or desperation
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, slowed thinking or indecisiveness
- Thoughts of death, suicide or wishes to be dead
- Extreme agitation or anger
- Excessive drug and/or alcohol use or abuse
- Neglect of physical health
If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms please reach out for help:
- The smart phone app My3 makes sure that your strongest support is only a click away
- The University Counseling Center 314-977-TALK
- The Dean of Students Office
- DPS 314-977-3000
Or reach out to an RA or Residence Hall staff member on campus.
You may also contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
For more information check out these websites or call the University Counseling Center:
A Suicide Prevention Workshop called C(QLC), Compassionate Questioning, Learning and Connecting, will be offered monthly on campus and can also be requested for your department or organization.
Sexual Assault Prevention
Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime (USDOJ). The college environment presents many opportunities for sexual assault to occur. Read on to learn more about sexual assault and how to prevent it from happening on our campus.
Facts on Sexual Assault
- Women are four times more likely than men to be a survivor of sexual assault.
- Alcohol is the #1 date rape drug. Studies have shown as many as 89% of cases of sexual assault occur when the survivor is incapacitated due to alcohol.
- Less than 5% of rapes and attempted rapes are reported on college campuses.
What is Consent?
It's pretty simple. Yes means Yes. A verbal yes or an enthusiastic physical response may warrant consent.
Here is when consent cannot be given:
- When someone is intoxicated (alcohol or drugs)
- When there is coercion, violence, or threats of violence
- When the person is under 17 years of age
- When someone is developmentally disabled
- When someone is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless
And remember, consent for one sexual activity does not imply consent for all sexual activities.
Risk Reduction and Bystander Tips
- Have open and honest conversations about sexual assault with your friends and family (if comfortable).
- Don't just be a bystander- if you see something, intervene in any way you can. Step up!
- Trust your gut. If something looks like a bad situation, it probably is.
- Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they are okay.
- Get someone to help you if you see something that is not ok- Enlist your RA, the party host, a bartender, or a passerby to step in.
- Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.
- If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.
- Recognize the potential danger of someone who is talking about targeting another person at a party or in your residence hall.
- Be aware if someone is intentionally trying to intoxicate, isolate or corner someone else.
- Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it is rape. *Taken from itsonus.org
Check out this video on stepping up and being an active bystander to stop sexual assault. Trigger warning: Some of the content may be triggering.
Drug and Alcohol Use Prevention
College students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Young people (ages 18 to 24) are already at a heightened risk of addiction, and those who are enrolled in a full-time college program are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
The aim of this section is to give you the right information so you can make healthy, informed decisions regarding alcohol and drug use.
Things to Consider Before Consuming Alcohol or Drugs
- Will this behavior help me move towards my goals?
- What do I have to do tomorrow (or later today)?
- Will this behavior enable me to do that?
- Do I have a safety plan in place (safe ride home, friends who know where I am, etc)?
- Have I done this behavior before and do I know how it will affect me?
- Why am I doing this? Will this behavior fulfill that?
- Have I eaten and had plenty of fluids today?
- Am I prepared to handle possible consequences of consuming alcohol or drugs?
Facebook, Instagram, Movies, TV. They often show people partying, having the time of their lives, meeting a partner, dancing, all while consuming large amounts of alcohol. What they don't show is the reality- binge drinking (see below for definition) and heavy alcohol use can lead to serious consequences:
- harm to yourself or others
- decline in grades
- exacerbation of mental health symptoms
- destruction of property
- legal consequences
- unwanted or unsafe sexual encounters
what the media shows
what the media doesn't show
First, if you are under 21 in the United States it is illegal to drink alcohol. On campus, if found to be drinking, you could face sanctions for violating University policies.
What is a drink?
The size of a container is not the best way to measure "a" drink. To make lower risk choices and to try to avoid negative consequences as a result of drinking choices, you need to know what common servings of alcohol look like.
- Beer - Most domestic beer is 4 to 5% alcohol, served in 12-ounce cans or bottles. This means an average beer contains about ½ ounce of pure alcohol. Craft Beers usually contain higher alcohol content.
- Wine - The average table wine contains 12% alcohol, so 4 ounces of wine would contain about ½ ounce of pure alcohol.
- Liquor/Distilled Spirits - One ounce of 100 proof distilled spirits would contain ½ ounce of pure alcohol.
Drinks that are the size of the above measurements are a little more than the average amount of alcohol that the body can metabolize in one hour. So generally speaking, your body can metabolize one drink per hour. Shots are drinks too- every shot you take counts as a drink- keep this in mind when drinking.
What is BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration?
Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is a measure of the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream. A BAC of .20 means 2 drops of alcohol for 1,000 drops of blood. It is important to understand the factors that affect BAC and how the effects of drinking alcohol vary among individuals. Keep in mind that the impairment experienced at any blood alcohol level is dependent on one's tolerance to alcohol. Tolerance is a measure of how sensitive a person is to alcohol's effects. The higher our tolerance, the less able we are to tell when we are impaired. Therefore, those with a low tolerance to alcohol will notice effects at lower BACs, while those with a higher tolerance will notice them somewhat later.
What is binge drinking? NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men-in about 2 hours. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.
- Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.
If you choose to go out and drink, follow these tips to stay safe:
- Make sure you have a safe ride home before you go out. Take with you the number of taxis or friends who are sober to drive you home. Never try to drive home after drinking or drive with someone else who has been drinking.
- Know your limit & plan ahead.
- Eat food before and while you drink.
- Beware of unfamiliar drinks.
- Keep track of how many drinks you are consuming.
- Avoid drinking games, or use water instead of alcohol
- Never accept a drink from someone you don't know.
- Be Careful what you combine, most drugs and alcohol do not mix well. Be sure to read all warning labels.
For more information see: http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/OtherAlcoholInformation/factsAboutAlcoholPoisoning.aspx
The Gordie Foundation, The NIAAA
DrugsMarijuana, "study drugs", pain killers, and ecstasy (also known as MDMA) are the most common drugs abused by college students. All of these drugs are risky to take, including prescription drugs (when they are not prescribed to you).
Check out the resources below to learn more about the risk and consequences of these drugs.
Mental Health and Stress Reduction
What IS Mental Health?
Generally, good mental health involves having a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self esteem. Those with good mental health generally have a positive outlook on life and keep balanced, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Good mental health enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment.
- It helps us form positive, healthy relationships
- It empowers us to reach our potential academically, professionally, physically, spiritually
- When we are mentally healthy, obstacles and stressors are more manageable
How can we improve our mental health?
- Practice self care
- Have a regular routine of self-reflection, prayer, meditation or other practice
- Talk about or express your feelings
- Exercise regularly and maintain good physical health
- Eat healthy, balanced meals
- Get enough sleep
- Spend time with friends and loved ones
- Practice good time management
- Relax and enjoy your hobbies
- Set realistic goals
- Talk to your mental health professional
- Ask for help when you need it! (You can talk to your RA, faculty, staff, etc)
What might trigger a mental health crisis?
College can be very stressful and might be the first time you've had to deal with new and difficult concerns:
- Adjustment to college life
- Loneliness, sadness, and anger
- Family stress, such as divorce
- Relationship problems with family, friends and roommates
- Trauma (e.g. sexual assault, abuse history)
- Alcohol, drug, or eating related issues
- Eating concerns
- Identity, diversity, and acculturation issues
You are not alone!
There are many resources on and off campus to assist you if any of these concerns arise. Reach out to a counselor at the University Counseling Center directly or one of your coaches or an athletics staff member can help guide you. The University Counseling Center provides free counseling services as well as a variety of educational programs for all Saint Louis University students.
We believe in a basic truth about wellness - when you feel well, in mind, body and spirit, you function well. Unfortunately, things don't always go as smoothly as you would like and even little things (and sometimes big ones) can get in the way of doing well and feeling your best.
The direct line to the University Counseling Center during normal business hours is (314) 977-7192. Appointments are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (occasionally, there may be later appointment times available). A counselor is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and can be reached at (314) 977-8255 for a medical or mental health emergency. Please do not hesitate to call.
What if I think my friend needs help?
It's definitely not unusual to get a little anxious and stressed out while trying to balance school, work and relationships - so it can be tough to tell if a friend is just dealing with the everyday challenges of life or struggling with a larger problem. A friend in trouble might need professional help to develop better coping and stress management skills, or they may be dealing with illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders that generally require attention and treatment.
Sometimes a decline in emotional health can lead to isolation and the person suffering may become very secretive in order to hide the problem. If you see a friend "drop off the face of the earth" or behave unusually, it could be a sign of a problem. It is important to try to make contact so you can assess if any warning signs are present. This PDF covers many of the early signs that go hand in hand with common mental health issues experienced by college students.
*Important* If you believe a peer is in need of mental health attention, please reach out to a counselor at the University Counseling Center, an RA, a Campus Minister, or the Dean of Students office. Do not attempt to deal with a difficult mental health situation without the support of trained professionals. And remember, offering support/getting help is the best thing you can do for someone you care about.
Remember, you are not alone at SLU. If you, or a friend, are in need of help please do not hesitate to call any of these resources:
University Counseling Center 314-977-TALK.
Student Health Center 314-977-2323
SLU Wellness 314-977-6358
Healthy Relationships: 5 Key Components
How I feel about myself. When I have positive self-esteem, I can accept feedback from others. When I respect my own thoughts, feelings, and needs, I can balance them with the feelings and needs of my friends and partners.
How I express myself with others. In relationships, good communication involves the ability to share feelings and ideas. It also involves being a good listener. It is important to be aware of our words, thoughts, and gestures-even when we disagree with others.
All relationships have rules that help us connect with each other. Agreeing to be respectful, honest, and accountable as friends or as partners helps build and maintain trust in relationships.
We each have many relationships or links with others. Examples include links in our community, our school, and with our family. No single relationship should isolate us from other relationships.
Relationships involve "give and take" on both sides. When one person is always giving and the other is always receiving, it is likely that one person will develop more power or control in the relationship. Healthy relationships work towards a balance.
Your Relationship is Healthy If...
- You trust your partner
- You each feel physically safe in the relationship
- You make important decisions together
- You have both a friendship and a physical attraction
- You don't have to be with your partner 24/7
- You treat each other the way you want to be treated, and accept each other's opinions and interests
- Your partner likes your friends and encourages you to spend time with them and wants to include them in his/her life as well as yours
- Your partner understands when you spend time away from him or her
- You don't feel responsible for protecting your partner's reputation or for covering his/her mistakes
- Your partner encourages you to enjoy different activities and helps you reach your goals
- Your partner likes you for who you are, not just how you look
- You are not afraid to say what you think and why you think that way. You like to hear how your partner thinks, and don't always have to agree
- Your partner cares about your sexual desires and takes time to communicate with you about what the two of you are comfortable with. Your partner does not force sexual activity or insist you do something that makes you uncomfortable.
Signs of An Abusive Relationship
The following is a list of warnings signs for potentially abusive relationships. They are presented as guidelines and cues to pay attention to, not as judgments on the worth of the other person.
- Abuse alcohol or other drugs
- Have a history of trouble with the law, get into fights, or break and destroy property
- Don't work or go to school
- Blame you for how they treat you, or for anything bad that happens
- Abuse siblings, other family members, children or pets
- Put down people, including your family and friends, or call them names
- Are always angry at someone or something
- Try to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go
- Nag you or force you to be sexual when you don't want to be
- Cheat on you or have lots of partners
- Ignore you, give you the silent treatment, or hang up on you
- Are physically rough with you (push, shove, pull, yank, squeeze, restrain)
- Threaten you with physical harm
- Take your money or take advantage of you in other ways
- Accuse you of flirting or "coming on" to others or accuse you of cheating on them
- Don't listen to you or show interest in your opinions or feelings
- Lie to you, don't show up for dates, maybe even disappear for days
- Make vulgar comments about others in your presence
- Blame all the arguments and problems on you
- Tell you how to dress or act
- Threaten to kill themselves if you break up with them, or tell you that they cannot live without you
- Experience extreme mood swings. Tell you you're the greatest one minute and rip you apart the next
- Tell you to shut up or tell you you're dumb, stupid, fat, or call you some other name
- Compare you to former partners
- Some other cues that might indicate an abusive relationship that might include:
- You feel afraid to break up with them
- You feel tied down, feel like you have to check-in
- You feel afraid to make decisions or bring up certain subjects so that the other person won't get mad
- You tell yourself that if you just try harder and love your partner enough that everything will be just fine
- You find yourself crying a lot, being depressed or unhappy
- You find yourself worrying and obsessing about how to please your partner and keep them happy
- You find the physical or emotional abuse getting worse over time
Exercise and Nutrition
Exercise, Good Nutrition and Plenty of Sleep are all part of a great self care routine. All of these practices help every aspect of your life: your academics, your physical health, your skin health, your relationships, and more. There are so many benefits to taking care of yourself, but when you come to college sometimes it is hard to stay on track. Follow these tips to be the best you!
According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, healthy adults should get a minimum of 2-1/2 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or a minimum of 1-1/4 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a combination of the two, in addition to 2 days of muscle strengthening a week. ( Ideally this would be a graphic- like a Colored rectangle with this info in there)
Make sure you create time in your schedule specifically for exercise. Remember, the habits you create now will stick with you when you get older. Make exercise a part of your routine now!
There are many ways you can get your exercise in on campus:
- Go to the gym at Simon Rec
- Take a Fitness Class
- Join Intramurals or Club Sports
- Find a walking or running buddy in your residence hall
- Take a walk to Forest Park and then rent a bike to explore
- Try the many free yoga classes around St. Louis
- Do a workout DVD in your room
Need more ideas? Email email@example.com
In addition to the numerous physical benefits, here are 5 reasons you should be exercising:
- Exercise Stimulates Brain Cell Development
- Exercise Improves Memory Retention
- Exercise Increases Focus and Concentration
- Exercise Boosts Mood
- Exercise Relieves Stress
*Information sourced from www.aiuniv.com
Check out Simon Rec's website http://www.slu.edu/simon-recreation-center
Developing healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy diet in college can be challenging. Pizza, candy, and other junk food are everywhere, or you might sleep in late and miss breakfast. But how, what and when you eat affects more than just your weight, it also impacts the way you feel emotionally and can impact your memory and grades.
Poor nutrition can cause:
- Bad moods
- Low energy
- Increased stress
- Decreased ability to concentrate
Five Tips on Healthy Eating
- Our bodies need fuel throughout the day to run properly, skipping meals or waiting long periods of time until your next meal are not a good idea.
- Try to eat something every few hours to keep your energy and mood up and your diet in check.
- Proper nutrition is all about balancing how much you have of each type of food. There are five basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. (insert graphic here of my plate) Each of these groups plays an important yet different role in our health, and we can't function at our best if we don't get enough of each type- we need all of them.
- A healthy, balanced diet doesn't mean that you can never have pizza, ice cream or chips, It just means you should enjoy these types of food in moderation. Avoid making rules around what you can and can't eat- this can lead to disordered eating.
- Make sure there are lots of colorful, fresh foods on your plate. These foods are packed with awesome nutrients! For more information on healthy eating and a balanced diet, check out MyPlate.gov.
*Information taken from Ulifeline.org
Worried you or a friend is struggling with an eating disorder? Call the University Counseling Center at 314-977-7192
Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep daily to reach their full potential. Here is why:
- Too little sleep can affect your ability to think clearly and make good decisions.
- Too little sleep affects your physical health, making you more vulnerable to catching colds and other illnesses
- Too little sleep affects your mental health and can leave you feeling depressed or anxious
- Getting a good night's sleep helps with memory and retention, so too little sleep can affect school work and grades
Here are some healthy sleep tips:
Link to this article http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14723/12-tips-to-sleep-soundly-every-night.html
Peer Education Program
What is this program about?
The foundation of our Peer Education Program is based upon research that shows that peers educating peers is the most effective form of education on many sensitive or personal topics. This method allows for students to gain responsibility and leadership experience within their community while engaging their peers and educating the campus at large on many topics surrounding health and wellness. We focus on several major topics: Mental Health & Suicide Prevention, Sexual Health & Sexual Assault Prevention, General Wellness (self care, sleep, stress, exercise), and Alcohol & Drug Awareness, and we actively strive to educate with a holistic approach to the college experience supported by a strong Bystander Intervention model. Our program strives to empower others with educational programming that is both necessary and important, but maintains the fun and exciting college experience. In short, peer education is the enhancement of our university community by students and for students.
Peer Educators do classroom presentations, plan and implement fun events on campus and bring in nationally known speakers.
Who are the peer educators?
1st year students. Graduate students. Transfer students. Commuter students. Seniors. Anyone and everyone imaginable can be a part of this group! We are composed of like-minded and focused campus leaders who wish to make the SLU community a healthy community . Whether you are a veteran campus leader, or if this is your first college-level involvement, SLU Wellness Peer Education has the perfect niche for you!
Why we do what we do
The college experience is as variable as one chooses to make it. However, one thing remains constant among students: the opportunity to work, live, and learn in a safe and healthy community. Therefore, it is our goal with SLU Wellness and Peer Education to continually challenge the student body to provide a safe and healthy community that promotes equity and understanding while fostering personal development.
How you can do it too
If you are interested in joining our team there are many ways to gather more information! Come to a Wellness Resource Fair, attend a SLU Wellness sponsored program or speaker, stop by our office (Wuller 212A), send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on Facebook, or just talk to one of our current peer educators!
Learn this five-step approach to Step UP! and intervene when someone around you is in need.
What is bystander intervention? Bystander intervention is a straightforward concept that simply means that in any given situation, there are people who may observe what is happening and be in a position to prevent an incident. Actions can be small, like asking a friend to stop making sexist jokes. Actions can be on a larger scale, like organizing an educational program for campus that helps facilitate understanding about sexual assault. It might also mean intervening or getting help if you see a troubling situation among friends or even strangers.
For more information on bystander intervention, click here. And if you want to get more involved...become a peer educator!
Campus Wellness Partners
Simon Recreation Center, Lower Level
Simon Recreation Center is located just south-east
of the Center for Global Citizenship
Contact: Arathi Srikanta, program director
Connect with SLU Wellness
Like the SLU Wellness Initiative on Facebook
Follow SLU Wellness on Twitter