Year-old UA program focuses on students’ mental well-being

Lindsey Ray Johnson, El Indie Arizona

A sign posted on the University of Arizona campus, in Tucson, Ariz., points the way to the Health Promotion Hideaway. Students are encouraged to join in workshops, activities and other stress busting activities hosted by Campus Health.

Improving wellness and mental health for students is one of the highest priorities for Campus Health at the University of Arizona. 

Every Wednesday, Campus Health holds its Wednesday Wellness Workshop to help students learn healthy coping skills to deal with the stress of college life.

The workshop is from 3-4 p.m. Wednesdays at the health promotion hideaway in the Bear Down gym. The hideaway is stocked with art supplies, painting materials and other tools needed to take a mental break.

Ryley Tegler is a health educator with Campus Heath and is part of the health promotions team. She plays an active role at the workshops and has seen it grow and change since it started last year.

Tegler said the workshop is a series focused on improving mental health and giving students the resources and skills needed to “put health information into tangible actions.”

The workshops cover topics including sleep and stress, boundaries and self-care, smart drinking and healthy phone habits.

“All the things that we create are from student need and from things we hear from students,” Tegler said. “Whether it’s from talking to students or from our health and wellness survey that we do every year, we are really looking at the student data and tailoring it to what y’all need and really letting students know that this is stuff that students have identified.”

While in college, students are taught so much information but they are not given the tools or resources to truly apply what they are learning into their real lives. Tegler said there is “not a lot of application of information.” 

 “Generally, as a society, we don’t do a great job learning and then practicing skills,” she said. 

Tegler wants this interactive environment to change how UA students approach their education. 

“When we are asking students to come and learn with us at the Wednesday Wellness Workshops, we know they are already doing a lot of the informational learning and we want to try and be a little bit different than that,” she said. 

“We also really want this to be a time where you are learning and reflecting with other students and you are getting some actual skills and ideally a little bit of time to practice them so you can walk out of this workshop feeling like ‘I have learned how’,” she said.  

Isaac Muir, a student at Pima Community College studying American Sign Language, said he has struggled with his mental health through college. He said he feels that universities making an effort and providing spaces for students to be comfortable when they are struggling goes a long way.

“Creating awareness and letting people know where to find help or how to find help, or doing little personable things about mental health, would be really nice to have around,” Muir said.

Muir doesn’t know of any mental health services provided by Pima, but he admitted that he hasn’t sought them out. After hearing about the services offered by the UA, he said  he was excited that resources were available to those in need.

“It feels like good steps in the right direction,” he said. “Obviously, the university can only move halfway. The student has to move the other half.”

Alayna Nickel, who graduated from Brigham Young University Idaho in spring 2023 with a degree in early childhood education, said she has seen the importance of maintaining mental health even in her post college life.

Nickel, who now teaches at a Sahuarita Elementary School, used the mental health services provided by her university and is glad she did because it helped her to know the importance of mental health and staying on top of it. 

“I think it’s important in college and well beyond college,” she said.

Now that she has graduated and has a job, Nickel said she still must make a conscious effort to set aside time to take care of herself and her mental health.

 “It’s important to take time for you,” she said. “Just taking a 30-minute break to do something you love because if you don’t invest in yourself now, you’re never going to.”

For a list of weekly Wednesday Wellness Workshop topics and events, visit Wellness Wednesday Workshop | Campus Health (

El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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