Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida
Here for Life
1st Tuesday every Month
7:00 - 8:30PM
10:30AM - Noon
56 Years of
Educating Southwest Florida on Mental Wellness since 1957
August 3, 2013
Golden gate Community
August 10, 2013
Southwest Florida Continues to
Support the MHA
Though our area is slowly re-
covering from difficult econom-
ic times the MHA of
Southwest Florida has
continued make the most of our
resources to provide programs,
services and support to the
community by maintaining a
small multi talented staff, low
|overhead, utilizing volunteers,
and by doing cost and viability
analysis of initiatives. Through
the generosity of community
businesses and residents we
have had all of our initiatives
and programs this year fully
supported. We also have
great community partners and
professionals that have made
programs available to the
area by combining our
resources and areas of
expertise. This year we also
tried to provide innovative and
progressive programming which
educates through entertainment
We are striving to continue this
process in our next year’s lineup
and hope to improve and
increase awareness on all
fronts. We have also greatly
increased our visibility by
producing a monthly informative
and educational newsletters,
newsflash emails on a regular
basis, radio and television
appearances informing the
public of our programs and
mission, and newspaper articles
with vital information .
We look forward to continuing
our efforts and Thank You for
Use our Directory to find a Licensed Mental Health Professional
The Directory of Licensed Mental Health Professionals is available to you,
your business, church or organization. In it you will find listings of
therapists, psychologists and others who are licensed to practice locally.
The Directory details their credentials and explains their areas of expertise.
You may download the Directory and choose yourself www.mhaswfl.org, or
we can provide you with the names of several licensed mental health pro-
fessionals that would be a good match for you and your needs.
Call us (239) 261-5405 so we can connect you with a mental health
We’re Making A Difference
Mental Health MattersPage 2
College can be exciting and difficult all at the same time. Students must learn to make lots of decisions
and cope with changes regarding their social life, parents, academic standing, or future plans. So under-
stand that if you’re feeling stressed, you’re not alone. Here are some tips to help you get adjusted,
whether you are a freshman, transfer, commuter, or returning student.
Suddenly, perhaps for the first time in your life, you’re moving away from everything familiar to you and
beginning to make your way as a young adult entirely surrounded by strangers. It’s a lot of changes all
Feeling Homesick. Freshmen struggle w ith homesickness w hether they are half an hour
away from home or across the country. Keep in touch with your family and old friends, but make sure
not to isolate yourself from making new friends at school. As time passes and campus feels more com-
fortable, your homesickness will lessen.
Getting Along With Your Roommates. Many freshmen have never had to share such a small
space with someone before—let alone a perfect stranger! Living with someone can be challenging. Work
through conflicts before they blow up. Regularly communicate with your roommate(s). And remember,
you don’t have to be best friends. Often roommates get along best when they have different circles of
Establishing Yourself. Four years in high school is a long time to establish and identify
yourself as a talented individual, whether your talents may be sports, music, drama or academics. Fresh-
men may feel as if they are just another face in the crowd. As you get to know other students, keep in
touch with your support network at home. They will assure you that you are unique!
Battling Perfectionism. Many students struggle w ith perfectionism as freshmen. Study hab-
its that may have worked in high school most likely will need to be adapted to fit the different academic
climate of college. In addition, grade expectations usually need to be realistically lowered with the in-
creased challenge of a college-level education. It may be helpful to talk with your RA about reasonable
Managing Your Time. Only three hours of class a day? It can be hard to budget all your
time to get assignments done, especially with added responsibilities such as jobs. Set aside a certain
time each day to spend studying. Studying with other classmates can help you meet people and get bet-
ter grades. And then enjoy your free time without guilt!
Building a Social Life. You may know that many college students drink and party to social-
ize. However, most college students overestimate the amount that other students drink. In fact, many
college students drink rarely if at all, and campus life organizations offer great alternatives to partying on
weekends. These activities—whether it is a dance party, cultural event, concert, or comedy night—will
help you meet other students that share your interests. If you do decide to drink, be responsible! And
always have a friend with you.
Dealing With Finances. It is a w ell-known fact that the average college student is poor. Fortunately,
many restaurants, movie theaters, and museums offer student discounts. Be creative—it is possible to
have fun without spending money! If tuition is a problem, visit your campus career center for help finding
scholarships and creating budgets. Be careful with credit cards. It is very easy to get into debt, so spend
wisely and avoid impulse purchases!
Freshmen aren’t the only students that must make adjustments to campus. If you are a transfer, com-
muter, or returning student, coming back to campus may still seem stressful. Although the tips above
can always be helpful, here are some tips especially for you.
Back to Campus
Transfer students, in a sense, are having the freshman experience for the second (or third) time around.
In addition to the typical “freshmen” stressors, transfers must cope with some unique challenges.
Fighting Isolation. Many transfers feel isolated. Orientation groups are usually made up of
other transfers, and it may be difficult to meet other students. Participate in on-campus activities or join
Finding Support Networks. Transfers may not receive the same help and guidance that in-
coming freshmen receive. These students have been placed in a strange environment, but schools tend
to focus more on freshmen’s needs. Talk with an RA, your academic advisor, or the campus counseling
center for answers to your questions.
Bonding With Other Students. Transfers may feel as if they “missed out” on the freshman bonding
time at their new school. It may seem as if everyone else has established his or her group of friends.
Give it time—good friendships aren’t made over night.
Off-campus living definitely has its advantages—an escape from a stressful academic environment, more
freedom and personal space, and peace and quiet. But commuting students must make adjustments
coming back to campus as well.
Building a Social Life. Commuters may find it hard to navigate the social w aters of a univer-
sity since they are usually absent on weekends. Make plans to meet up with friends or classmates for so-
cial activities on the weekends.
Participating in Campus Life. Commuters don’t experience some aspects of campus life, such as
dorm living. Feel more connected by spending time on campus even when you don’t have class. Study at
the library, and use university facilities such as the gym or dining hall instead of going off-campus.
Returning to campus after a summer away is an adjustment. Many students have gotten re-acquainted
with the comforts of home, such as good food and old friends. In addition, returning students deal with:
Balancing Academic Loads. More upper-level classes might mean more studying and less free
time. But this isn’t inevitable! With some time management and focused studying, you will be able to ad-
just to the increasing academic demands.
Deciding on the Next Step. Thinking about the future is a source of anxiety for many returning
students, whether it’s choosing a major, thinking about studying abroad for a semester, or deciding on
post-graduation plans. It can be especially distressing if you feel directionless. This is a common feeling.
A visit to your career center may be able to give you some guidance.
Sometimes these changes and adjustments can trigger depression or other mental health issues. If the
above techniques do not appear to be working, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. If your feelings
of constant stress become feelings of sadness that go on for weeks and months, you may be experienc-
ing more than just difficulty adjusting to life’s changes. Visit your student counseling center—services are
confidential and are usually free of charge.
Top Ten Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health.
10. Be realistic. If you are taking on more responsibility than you can handle, rank the activities you
are involved with and drop the ones that aren't absolutely necessary.
9. Drop the "superman/superwoman" mentality. Nobody is perfect, so don't expect perfection
from yourself or others. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
8. Reflect. Take time out to collect your thoughts. Personal reflection in the form of meditation, prayer
or other ways can reduce stress.
7. Plan ahead. Feeling unprepared or scrambling to do something in the last minute can be really
6. Exercise. Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress, increase self-esteem, boost energy lev-
els, and improve concentration.
5. Healthy lifestyle. Eat a well-balanced diet, and limit your use of caffeine and alcohol. Make sure
you are getting enough sleep to feel refreshed and energized.
4. Share your feelings. Talking to a friend or family member about problems in your life can help you
organize your thoughts and get support for your feelings.
3. Hobbies. Take a break from stressful situations by doing something you enjoy. Whether it's read-
ing, gardening or cooking, make time to relax and do something you like.
2. Be flexible. Respect other people's opinions and be prepared to compromise. If you are willing to
give a little, others may meet you halfway. Not only will you reduce your stress, you may find better so-
lutions to your problems.
1. Take one thing at a time. When people are under stress, an average workload can seem over-
whelming. The best way to handle this feeling is to take one task at a time. Pick one project and work
on it. Once you finish it, choose the next one. The feeling of accomplishment will encourage you to keep
Mental Health MattersPage 6
Suddenly, you've moved away from everything and everyone that are familiar and begin to make your
way in the world as an independent individual. However, you still rely on your parents and your home
environment as a place you can return to when things get tough. But what do you do when your parents
decide to divorce while you're in college?
In our family portrait, we look pretty happy
Let's play pretend, let's act like it comes naturally
I don't wanna have to split the holidays
I don't want two addresses
I don't want a step-brother anyways
And I don't want my mom to have to
change her last name
In our family portrait, we look pretty happy
We look pretty normal, let's go back to that . . .
-- Pink, "Family Portrait"
You are not alone. Thousands of college-aged students are affected by their parents' divorce each
year. Here are some tips to help you cope with your parents' divorce:
Keep things in perspective. This is not about you. It is about them. Remind yourself that you did not
cause your parents' marital problems or divorce and that it is normal to have feelings of split loyalties to
your parents. Your instincts will be to give as much aid and support as you can. However, it is very im-
portant that you take care of yourself and continue your own life during this period.
Don't go through this alone. Sharing your feelings and concerns w ith others w ill help you get
through this turbulent period. Talk to friends, family members and people who also have had parents di-
vorce. Contact your school counseling service or find a support group. Isolating yourself can raise your
stress levels, mess up your concentration, and get in the way of your schoolwork, relationships and over-
Take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Be good to yourself. Invest time in your hob-
bies and interests. Take time out to exercise, rest and relax. Keep to your normal routines. Try to avoid
making major decisions or changes in life plans. Find safe ways to blow off steam. Do not use alcohol
and drugs as a way to cope; they only lead to more problems.
It's OK to have a lot of different feelings. People w hose parents are divorcing often feel of sad,
angry and depressed, and have a tough time concentrating. You also may feel anxious about the future
and feelings of responsibility. Reactions like these are normal and healing takes time. If you need to cry,
yell or feel sad, let it out.
Don't let yourself get caught in the middle. There may be pressure to choose sides, but try to
be as loving as possible to both parents. Your parents need to work out their own divorce and financial
arrangements without using you as a go-between. Stand up to your parents if their decisions make you
angry or uncomfortable. If you think one of your parents may become violent, get out of the house and
talk about the situation with a trusted friend or family member.
Think positive. Easier said than done, right? Things may not be the same as they w ere before,
but finding new, fun things to do and interacting with understanding and reasonable expectations, will
make this transition easier. Be flexible. Family traditions are still important but some of them may need
to be adjusted. Help create new traditions and family activities. Spend positive times together in the new
Life will get back to normal, although "normal" may be different from w hat you had originally
Coping with Your Parents' Divorce
To Advocate for Mental Wellness through Education,
Prevention, and Support
The Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida identifies unmet needs and
develops culturally sensitive services and programs to improve the lives of those
facing the many challenges of today’s world in our community.
If you are interested in becoming a member, e-mail us at email@example.com Or Simply fill out the application and mail a check
payable to MHASWFL or donate online using a credit card. Your contribution is tax-deductible and crucial to helping us continue
our work. If you have any questions about Membership please contact our office by phone at (239) 261-5405
or mail The Mental Association of Southwest Florida 2335 Tamaimi Trail N, Ste 404, Naples FL 34103.
Page 8Mental Health Matters