Stress hurts. No question. Students often fail to seek social support and human connection before allowing chronic stress and anxiety to drive them into isolation.

The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, including directors from Oregon State University, published results from a 2013 study showing that anxiety is the top presenting concern among college students (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).

College students’ mental health is a growing concern, the survey found.

Whether students have chosen higher education to open doors, to begin a new dream career, to learn about a passion, or to seek overall lifestyle betterment, they will experience heavy stress at some point along their educational journey.

A vast array of local resources can positively influence students who experience stress and anxiety, who experience crisis, or who just have needs related to issues such as ADHD or procrastination.

On campus, students experiencing concerns are encouraged to seek support and confidential guidance from UCC’s new life coach, Anita Louise. Louise’s office is located in the Student Services area.

“Please do not hesitate to reach out for life coaching support through immediate crisis,” Louise says. She will work with students to help them identify the crisis and discern whether additional support or resources might be helpful. Louise works collaboratively as part of the Student Services team which include the academic advisors, career coach, accessibility services coordinator and other instructional and student support professionals. Together, the team provides foundational support for students.

Louise’s interest in helping students was partly inspired by a conference she attended six years ago. She went to “Making Connections” in Eugene and learned the then-emerging research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), their impact on health and social outcomes, and how to promote resiliency across the lifespan.

Learning about the impact of trauma and chronic stress as well as the hope of resiliency became Louise’s passion. Incorporating this knowledge into her personal and professional life has been transformative for Louise.

She sees her new position of life coach as an opportunity to give back what was given to her by the teachers and professors who went the extra mile to support and encourage her. Louise, grateful for having been given their legacy of hope, now wants to be an inspiration of hope and possibility for UCC students.

Placing an emphasis on concerns that impact students’ lives, Anita employs a solution-seeking approach to help students problem solve using a wealth of available support and resources designed to assist students in acquiring the personal and academic skills necessary to achieve educational and career related goals. Louise can also benefit students with her abilities to help them to stay focused and motivated.

Louise’s professional support is available to all UCC students, and she works closely with every student to address any concerns they may be experiencing that may come up against obstacles in the way of achieving their goals.

During four to six sessions in Louise’s office, students can expect, among other things, to be provided with cognitive support using a solution-seeking approach to collaborate on problem-solving skills and strategies to be successful, based on the student’s definition of success.

There are several ways that students can arrange to meet with Anita, including stopping by the Student Services office located in the LaVerne Murphy Student Center or by calling Rhonda Stearns at 541-440-7900 to make an appointment. Students can also schedule their own appointment through AdvisorTrac in Banner.

Louise has also recently designated timeframes that she carved out to allow more walk-in access, and those hours are Tuesdays 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Louise’s take-away for students is her core belief in others. She quotes Carl Rogers when she describes the foundation of all of her student interactions: “I believe people are the experts in their own lives, and my goal is to help them figure out their own best answers.”