University Health and Counseling Services
Ambrose Center

Mental Health

UHCS Services

Our mental health providers are here for you! There is no matter too small or too big. See our Counseling Services page to learn more. Call to set up an appointment so we can discuss next steps: 262-472-1300. 

UHCS Wellness Services can also provide mental health education and promotion through events and presentations. See our program request form for more information.

Finally, you may benefit from reserving the UHCS Relaxation Room and trying out some new stress reduction tools! 


Mental health is health. It's crucial to care for our mental health just as we do for our phsyical health. They are closely connected dimensions of wellness. Below are some topics of interest and tools to help you maintain your wellbeing. 


Complete a self-assessment to learn more about your current state of mind. 

Suicide Signs and Crisis Line

A suicidal person urgently needs to see a health or mental health service provider. Here are some warning signs you should know about:

  • Talk about suicide
  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Suddenly happier, calmer
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about
  • Unusual visiting or calling people one cares about
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order
  • Giving things away

Studying for Finals

  • To stay alert and release tension, take frequent study breaks. Take a brisk walk outside, fast dance to loud music, or do full body stretches.
  • Avoid too much caffeine or sugar. It can give you "coffee nerves" - trembling, nervousness, throbbing headache, irritability, and disorientation that can lower your performance on the exam.
  • Make sure you are eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains every 3-5 hours to keep your mind and body functioning at their best.
  • Try to maintain consistent times for falling asleep and waking up so you can get enough rest to do your best on your exams. To help yourself fall asleep ask a friend to massage your neck and shoulders or do it yourself. Then focus on your breathing; gradually slowing it down. Don't allow yourself to think about the exam - just pay attention to your breathing. A cup of warm milk might help, but not alcohol. That will disrupt your normal sleep cycle.
  • Think positive! Repeat to yourself, "I am a capable student. I can write my ideas clearly. I can recall exam information."

Overcoming Hardship: How to Be More Resilient

Bad things happen to good people. How well we recover from these setbacks depends on many factors. Here are a few you can consider to enhance resilience:

Authenticity: People who are the same on the inside as they are on the outside cope with hard times better than those who put up a front. Know your true self and express real feelings to family, friends, coworkers.

Responsibility: Willingness to be accountable for what you can control - that is, owning the problem - is the first step toward taking positive action to manage it. Try to take control, even in small ways, to build coping skills.

Flexibility: Those who bounce back can accept that change is inevitable and don't fight it. They're not afraid of it, but more often see it as opportunity. Embrace change as part of the normal pattern of live and adapt to it in a way that makes things better, not more difficult.

Responsiveness: Open-minded, aware individuals who study their environment and react positively to new ideas have more resilience than those who sit back and let the world happen to them. Adopt a life-long learning attitude as a way to more easily adjust to life's curve balls.

Faith: Not necessarily religious faith, but a belief in yourself, others, and the potential for good are traits in people who recover more easily. Whatever your convictions, foster commitment to them.

Risk Tolerance: Resilient individuals aren't afraid to take steps in a new direction. Seek support from friends and family to strike out on a new path.

Purpose: A belief in something beyond yourself - religion, nature, humanity - is another common characteristic. Allow time for thoughtful reflection and discussion of ideas around life purpose.

Acting Assertively

Assertiveness is expressing your feelings, thoughts, and needs without threatening others.

  • Are you confident without being overbearing?
  • Are you proud when you do something well?
  • Do you say what you feel without being hostile to others?

Non-assertiveness is putting others first at your expense.

  • Are you afraid others won't like you if you disagree with them?
  • Do you remain silent when something bothers you?
  • Is it difficult for you to give or receive criticism?

Agression is putting yourself first at the expense of others.

  • Do you demand rather than ask?
  • Do you feel angry when others disagree with you?
  • Do you explode when someone criticizes you?

Passive-aggressiveness is pretending to put others first with dishonest communication and not respecting yourself enough to be honest about how you feel.

  • Do you feel bitterness and resentfulness towards others and yourself?
  • Do you try to "get even" with others?
  • When you don't want to do something do you say yes and then "forget" to do it?

To be more assertive, start with new communication skills.

  • Ask politely and firmly for what you want.
  • If a request is unreasonable, say so. Focus on the area of conflict and suggest a solution that would meet both of your needs, if possible.
  • Get to the point. Don't hedge or drop hints. Learn when to stop talking.
  • Look the other person in the eye.
  • Don't attack the other person. Instead, describe your feelings with "I" statements. Say, "I am upset that you didn't complete this on time", not, "You never complete things on time".
  • Your voice tone, inflection, and volume must reflect self confidence. A whispered monotone is not convincing, while shouting will put the other person on the defense. Don't use your voice to intimidate.

Where & When to Say it

  • It's best not to confront someone in front of other people.
  • Sit or stand on the same level as the other person.
  • Rehearse with a friend; write out the first few sentences and the essential points you want to make.
  • Give yourself time to think through your response and consider the situation.

When It Is More Than The Blues

Most college students say they feel "down " or "blue " every once in awhile, but people suffering from clinical depression have a body and mind illness that affects the way they eat, sleep and feel about themselves and the world. Most people grieve over experiences of loss and disappointment and gradually the grief becomes less. Those with clinical depression feel badly for weeks, months and sometimes years. They may not even know why they feel so sad and tired. They can not simply "get over it".

One out of every five adults may experience a depression at some point in their lives. Twice as many women as men suffer from depression, however men are more likely to die from suicide. The highest rates of depression are in 24-44 years olds. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people 15-25 years old. One of the best strategies for the prevention of suicide is the early recognition and treatment of depression.

The most common symptoms of depression are:

  • loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities
  • changes in appetite
  • sleep difficulties
  • restlessness or sluggishness
  • decreased energy and extreme fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
  • persistent sad or empty mood
  • thoughts of death or suicide

The good news is that depression is highly treatable. Between 80 and 90% of all depressed people respond to treatment. Counseling can help people identify and cope with the factors that contribute to their depression in an atmosphere of acceptance and support. There are many helpful techniques including challenging negative though patterns, developing a positive self image, changing behaviors or life situations that are contributing to the problem, and developing an optimistic and accepting attitude. Treatment may also include medication, exercise, nutritional changes and changes in the use of alcohol, other drugs or even certain prescription medications.

When Life Gets Rough, Treat Yourself with Compassion

Facing a very difficult situation or time in your life? Treat yourself with compassion. New research shows that when you treat yourself kindly in the face of failure, rejection, defeat, or other negative event, you may be able to cope and feel better. Although Western society has emphasized the importance of high self-esteem, having self-compassion may be more important in dealing with negative life events according to researcher and Wake Forest University psychologist Mark Leary, PhD.v "Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness you would show a friend whether you feel good about yourself or not," said Leary. "Self-esteem is simply feeling good about yourself." In his research, Leary found that those with higher self-compassion were more likely to think "Everybody goofs up now and then" and less likely to think "I am such a loser" or "I wish I could die" in response to a distressing situation.



All information on this website is written by UHCS professional staff unless otherwise noted. No data is collected on visitors to this site. Financial Support for this web site is provided by University Health & Counseling Service, Division of Student Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. This web site does not accept advertising.

This site is not meant to replace the advice of a health care or counseling professional. You should not rely on any information on these pages, or information generated for you by this site, to replace consultations with qualified professionals regarding your own specific situation. Some links take you to a source outside of UHCS. The owners of that site, not UHCS, are responsible for the content.