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Mental Health

The office of student affairs seeks to build a vibrant college community that is healthy and supportive in all aspects of life. We care deeply about our students’ well-being and strive to offer the services needed to be successful.

We recognize that at times your academic and clinical training can be stressful. We also understand that extenuating life circumstances can add to the levels of stress experienced by our students.

Mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, and depression, often impact students’ ability to perform at their best, and have adverse effects on well-being in general, as well as negatively affect memory and learning. The College strives to foster well-rounded, compassionate health care providers who flourish in all aspects of life.

There are two general rules of thumb when dealing with distress:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help;
  2. Ask for help as soon as you feel the symptoms of distress.

Common symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and other common mental health illnesses, can be found here: Symptoms

Stress and anxiety can have both psychological and physical signs.

Common physical symptoms of stress and anxiety include:

  • stomachache
  • muscle tension
  • headache
  • rapid breathing
  • fast heartbeat
  • sweating
  • shaking
  • dizziness
  • frequent urination
  • change in appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue

Common physical symptoms of stress and anxiety include:

  • feelings of impending doom
  • panic or nervousness, especially in social settings
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irrational anger
  • restlessness

Depression can also have both physical and psychological signs:

Common physical symptoms of depression include:

  • fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Persisting aches, including stomachache, headache
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much

Common psychological symptoms of depression include:

  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Feeling guilty
  • Feeling worthless
  • Pessimism and hopelessness
  • Loos of interest in things that were once pleasurable
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts

You can take simple yet important steps towards improving your mental well-being. Often times, just talking with someone about issues that may be causing distress offers major relief.

Proven methods that you can implement to increase positive mental well-being include mindfulness and managing cognitive distortions. For more information on these methods, visit Cognitive Distortions (PDF)

Some students, however, may need more structured assistance.

We offer a host of services to help students who may be experiencing some kind of distress in their lives.

11th Floor Safe Zone
The office of Student Affairs offers a supportive, friendly safe zone with strict privacy. Regarding any issues you may be experiencing–school-related or not–you can make appointments to speak with:
Gui Albieri: galbieri@sunyopt.edu
Jackie Martinez: jmartines@sunyopt.edu
Christian Alberto: calberto@sunyopt.edu
**Walk-ins are also welcome!
Mental Health Counseling

Talking with a counselor or therapist has shown to alleviate stress symptoms and is an effective way to help you reach solutions for problems that may be causing stress.

Counselors offer individual and group counseling for a range of concerns, such as: stress, anxiety, depression, difficulty adjusting, eating concerns, relationship issues, grief, etc… All health information discussed is confidential.

To schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Nirav Soni, Licensed Psychologist, at niravsoniphd@gmail.com

Gouverneur Healthcare Services: major health insurances accepted, including Medicaid. Students without health insurance can get treatment and will be charged according to a sliding scale. Contact the Office of Student Affairs for more info.

Crisis Text Line
SUNY has implemented a Crisis Text Line to help increase mental health awareness and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. The system is very simple to use and is fully operational. To access the service, all students must do is text “Got5U” to 741-741. Within seconds you will be connected to a therapist. The service is free to all SUNY students. Anyone experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression is encouraged to use this service.
Tea Chats
The College offers workshops throughout the year called Tea Chats on topics such as stress management, sleep hygiene, and test anxiety. We strongly encourage all students to attend these workshops.
Interfaith Prayer and meditation room
The College’s interfaith prayer and meditation room (Rm #1220) is meant to serve and accommodate students of all beliefs and to support the holistic wellness of the College community. This room is accessible to the community Monday through Friday throughout the day. If the room is locked please see Ms. Ayana Wint in the President’s suite for access.
Suicide Prevention

Students having suicidal thoughts are encouraged to seek immediate help by calling a suicide crisis helpline.

We also recommend you read Are You Feeling Suicidal?

How to help those with suicidal thoughts

The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.