Support group helps students with depression and anxiety

Photo courtesy

Jose Rodriguez

Beyond Blue is a support group for students, staff and faculty dealing with depression, anxiety or other related issues. It takes place every Monday from 11 a.m. to noon at the School of Health and Kinesiology.

“It kind of helps them normalize (depression and anxiety) and having that place to come and process some of these things,” said Jaisy Girija Kumar, a licensed independent mental health professional.

A group setting helps attendees feel like they are not alone, Kumar said. Beyond Blue is one of the services offered by UNO’s Counseling and Psychological Services. It allows attendees to talk to other people and receive guidance from CAPS professional counselors. Kumar, along with an intern and a graduate assistant student (both masters level students), is one of the professionals available to talk with students.

Once students check in, they take the floor. Then, they share their feelings and seek advice. There is also a checkout and students are encouraged to continue coming back or just attend as they need, Kumar said.

While this semester’s attendance has been low, it is important to have opportunities like this on campus.

“It gives a quick and close by location for students. It also shows those in need of these services that they are not the only ones or alone in any given situation on campus,” UNO student Juan Muñoz said.

Some students, like Muñoz, feel comfortable relying on their family and friends for support in difficult situations. Muñoz cannot picture himself attending Beyond Blue, but he believes the program is a necessity for UNO.

Students in need may be facing different challenges, while getting an education and struggling in different aspects of their life.

“It contributes to their emotional well-being, which has a direct effect on their academic performance,” Kumar said.

Beyond Blue will continue for the rest of the semester every Monday and students, staff and faculty are welcome to stop by or join. The schedule for future semesters is subject to change according to the intern and graduate assistant availability. For more information or support regarding this topic, contact UNO’s Counseling and Psychological Services.