Monday, November 28, 2016

Five Signs of Suffering

by Amanda Padden

On Friday, November 18th, I had the opportunity to attend an event for Guidance Counselors at The University of New Hampshire. I heard from current students, academic deans and admissions counselors and took a tour of the beautiful campus. I was also able to read two student applications to get a sense of how applications are reviewed at UNH. What I found most interesting about my visit was the time they took to talk about the well being of their students. I heard from the director of the counseling center on campus who outlined the emotional supports they offer as well as the outreach they do to educate their students about how to seek help for themselves or their friends. They showed us a document that is shared with all students called The Five Signs of Suffering. These signs are:
1. The person's personality changes
2. They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated or moody
3. They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people
4. They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior
5. They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances
The Medfield middle school and high school guidance departments had just presented the Signs of Suicide program to the seventh and ninth graders that week, so I felt great that Medfield students are going to college already knowing what signs of depression are and that it's reinforced at the college level. Another point that UNH made is that many students when they arrive at college struggle with decision making, solving problems on their own, and dealing with disappointment. I think this is an area the guidance department can impact in future classroom guidance sessions and parent seminars.

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