A healthy YOU goes a long way

Wellness information tables aim to help the Concordia community

As the new academic year brings promise of stress-inducing deadlines and a heavy workload, perhaps learning about ways to prevent and cope with stress while also maintaining a healthy diet isn’t such a bad idea.

On Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Concordia’s Health Services will be on hand during their “Healthy YOU at CU” information table to answer any questions students may have regarding mental health, proper sleep, and quitting smoking, to name a few.

Gabriella Szabo, a health promotion specialist who will be present at the event, said students will have the opportunity to speak with her and a nurse. They will also be able to book an appointment on the spot and “pick up some reliable, evidence-based health information,” she said.

Health Services’ weekly wellness table, coined “Healthy YOU at CU,” will take place in different buildings on the university’s downtown campus between Sept. 16 and Nov. 24. The precise dates and locations can all be found on the Concordia’s Health Services’ website. At the wellness tables, Concordians will have the opportunity to speak with health specialists who cater to students’ needs and who, according to Szabo, “understand the many responsibilities students carry, and the issues that concern them.”

There are certain health problems students tend to collectively experience, she said.

“In the 2013 NCHA survey, students identified anxiety, stress, and sleep difficulties as some of the top factors affecting their academic performance,” she said. “Students come to Health Services for help with these issues. They also come for health concerns related to sexually transmitted infections … or needing [contraceptives] and safer sex counseling.”

One of the best ways to deal with these difficulties is by taking steps to prevent them in the first place, Szabo said. “We encourage students to use Health Services not just when they are sick, but when they are well; to stay healthy and even work toward some health goals they have,” she said. “Behaviours like getting enough good-quality sleep, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular physical activity will help students achieve their academic goals, because healthier students do better in school.”

Missing vaccines is also an issue Szabo said has become more apparent in recent years, a change that can put students at risk of getting and spreading vaccine-preventable illnesses. She recommends gathering your vaccine information and visiting a nurse to find out if you are missing any vaccinations.

Despite the sometimes sensitive nature of health issues, many Concordians are comfortable asking their questions at the tables, Szabo said. For students who are not, there is the option of speaking with a nurse in private, she added.

“Many young people realize that if they have questions about something, others are probably wondering the same thing. So they ask their questions in front of others,” she said. “I think this is a really good thing, because it challenges stigma and breaks down barriers.”

“Healthy YOU at CU” tables also serve as a reminder to students—no matter their age or past health experiences—that resources are available to them. Paying your student fees makes you eligible to consult a nurse or health specialist at Concordia’s Health Services. Be sure to visit the information tables if you have any questions or wish to book an appointment.

CORRECTION: In the Sept. 8 issue of The Concordian, the article entitled “Concordia to host monthly no-charge pap clinics” stated pap tests would be performed by a gynecologist and that women should have regular pap tests every three-to-four years. In fact the exams are performed by a female physician and women should schedule regular pap tests for every two to three years. The Concordian regrets the error.

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