AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo College recognizes the impact stress can have on students and will now provide a free stress management program.
'Success Over Stress' (SOS) is a new support group that AC has launched this fall semester with hopes that it will alleviate student stress and give them the opportunity to express their concerns and anxieties instead of bottling them up.
"Mental health issues are learning issues," said Dr. Alan Kee, Psychology Professor. "For example, a depressed brain just cannot learn very effectively. So, if students can get some good treatment, they have a chance of recovering and then they can complete their certificate or their degree and actually make a better living for themselves and their families."
This SOS program kicked off freshly this month but students are encouraged to enter the support group at any time during the semester to help relieve stress levels.
"When you think about stress, it's something that you want to deal with on the front end and the reality of it is, over time it tends to escalate," said Kee. "If it's not dealt with early on, the stress can pile up."
The focus of this group is to intervene early in a student's life and provide support over time to avoid behavioral changes that could be harmful to a student and their studies.
The motivation toward the campuses outreach begins with one suicidal tragedy and now Dr. Kee and Amarillo College are working to prevent this from happening again.
"Two and a half years ago, I had a student in a class who was distressed," said Kee. "She never returned to class and I later found out that she did in fact take her life and that just always stuck with me. It was tragic, it was heart breaking and that was a stimulus to start thinking about what I can possibly do to maybe make a difference and to intervene with a student who may be at risk."
60 percent of AC students are in poverty, which is a risk factor for mental health issues and also makes it hard for students to find inexpensive counseling.
So, now students will be able to join together each Thursday afternoon in Dutton Hall to share and learn strategies for dealing with stressful situations.
"In the group itself, we would have students volunteer to share a stressful situation that they are dealing with and the class would help walk them through the steps of recovering."
Amarillo College will also be opening a counseling center within the next week that will be located on the second floor of the Student Services Center.
This will also be available free for students and it will provide them the opportunity to have a more personal one to one counseling session.
For more information regarding the SOS program and the counseling center visit the AC's website.