TULSA, Okla. — The first year of college can be difficult, whether you’re at a new university, living alone for the first time, or just dealing with the pressure to succeed.
They’re dealing with stress, anxiety and depression.
It’s why the University of Tulsa and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research teamed up to develop a mental toughness training program.
The initial study found more than 25% of students were having elevated levels of depression and stress.
The program is called “College Tough” or “TU Tough” was introduced to students in four brief sessions in class.
It teaches skills related to goal-building, mindfulness, and how to respond to challenges.
Eric Breese went through the program a few years ago and is now teaching it.
He said even now, he uses the stress-reduction techniques when he’s feeling overwhelmed.
“It doesn’t have to be a thing you do every single day," Breese said. "It can just kind of be small little things you do throughout the day, throughout the week, to kind of gradually manage things a little better.
He adds that asking for help doesn’t mean a person is weak, but is a sign of strength if you recognize there’s a problem and want to improve or make a change and take the next step.
Assistant TU Professor and Principal Investigator at LIBR Dr. Robin Aupperle said the program also teaches students that setbacks and failures are not only okay, but they’re expected.
“It's a sign that you’re striving for more and that you’re pushing yourself is that you’re going to fail," said Dr. Aupperle. "If you’re not failing, then you’re not challenging yourself probably enough. Your’e not pushing yourself enough."
She said the program focused on mental toughness and psychological skills can help students combat some of their mental health problems.
They are also looking at ways to advance the program and see how it would work at other universities.
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