The Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated and the Alcorn Department of Residence Life hosted a National Stress Awareness Day entitled De-Stress & Chill on Wednesday, November 4th, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The seminar was located in the Campus Union Ballroom of Alcorn State University (ASU), but was also virtual with guest speaker Shanice N. White who is a licensed professional counselor.
White is a two-time graduate of Jackson State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In addition to being a licensed professional counselor, she is a board qualified supervisor for the state of Mississippi. She also recently retained her license in the state of Georgia to practice counseling. White currently serves as a Director and Therapist at The Latasha Norman Center for Counseling Services at Jackson State University. She is the proud owner and Therapist of Endless Possibilities LLC, which is a private practice where she provides therapy to individuals who experience anxiety, trauma and emotional disturbance. She holds over 10 years of research experience on topics including suicide, trauma, post dramatic stress disorder and bullying.
White hosted the event via Zoom and a wide screen was displayed throughout the event for the audience. A presentation slide was shown to discuss the different areas of stress and its effects. She initiated an ice breaker that presented true and false statements which in her words were a game of “Cap or No Cap” such as “stress can help with performing certain tasks” which is true and “if a person does not have any symptoms, that means they are not stressed” which is false. She began to explain that stress is a reaction to something that has happened or is currently taking place and that the degree to which a person feels overwhelmed and unable to cope. White then questioned, “besides school, work and financial issues, what else can stress originate from?” Members of the audience stated that family and relationship issues can be involved with stress. She later began to express how it is important to observe yourself when noticing the signs of stress which are emotional changes, behavioral changes and body changes.
White then gave a statistical breakdown of college students that are stressed. 85% felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point over the past year and 30% reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance. Of the students that are diagnosed or treated by a professional over the past year, 15.8% experienced anxiety while 13.1% coped with depression. While getting rest can benefit a student’s performance, 70% of college students receive less than the 8 recommended hours of sleep every night. This can increase stress and tension as well. She explained that it is imperative for students to realize the root of the stress and identify the problem and its cause. While overcoming stress, it is motivational to have supportive relationships surrounding you. In addition, self-compassion is important to practice in coping with stress. White expressed that eating healthy, being mindful of caffeine and stimulant intake, taking breaks and resting are crucial to dealing with stress because if you don’t handle it, stress can overwhelm your body and take over.
Te’Yah Wright, a Senior Environmental Science major, asked for advice on how to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. White responded by saying that it is important to limit your social media intake per day, as well as, since the presidential election is happening, limiting the amount of time you watch the news. Even though it might not be noticeable, watching the news and scrolling through social media can be stressful towards your mental health. She addressed faculty and staff, as well, by saying that it is valuable to take breaks within a working time period. Waking up earlier in the day versus rushing to work and class, and exercising limits the amount of stress intake.
Regarding family issues, White stated that sometimes you have to establish boundaries towards family and friends who bring negative energy into your life. Rayven Jones, Miss Freshman 2020-2021, stated, “I loved that she informed us on how to recognize stress and cope with it. She made me realize how easy it can be to become stressed by noticing behavioral changes, as well as, distancing myself from others due to stress.”
White informed students that if their stress level is a 5 or above, she recommends reaching out to the counseling services on campus or a therapist in the surrounding area. For more information related to counseling services at Alcorn, contact (601) 877-6230.