Editor's note: Mental Health Musings (MHM) will focus on community resources and stories throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing protests against police brutality.

Over half of Americans reported that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted their mental health

But the impact it can have on college students, who have seen an ongoing increase in need for mental and behavioral health care over the years, is still being researched.

One study of 195 college students noted that 71 percent felt stressed and anxious due to the pandemic. 

“We also know that this time of transition may be stressful as students navigate new and unknown roles and expectations, and that this academic year has been further complicated by the restrictions and uncertainty imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rev. James Maher, Niagara University president.

During the week of November 16-20, Niagara University will partner with Best Self Behavioral Health and the National Council for Mental Health First Aid to provide a series of virtual training and webinars on mental health. These events were made possible through a Mother Cabrini Foundation grant. 

“The events offered during Mental Health Awareness Week will help to support the mental health and well-being of our students and the campus community,” Maher said. 

Two training opportunities will be available for students and faculty of the university. 

The first will be Mental Health First Aid, where participants will learn how to understand, recognize and respond to signs of substance use and mental health conditions. The session is six hours long. 

The second training is Mental Health First Aid Basics and QPR, where participants will learn to help someone developing a mental health condition. This training is two hours.

Some of the webinars include learning how to become a volunteer at the nonprofit Compeer on Monday, November 16 from 4-5 p.m. and Tuesday, November 17 12-1 p.m. and learning to manage mental health during COVID-19 taught by a Niagara University alumni that works in mental health care on Wednesday, November 18 from 6-7 p.m.

“At Niagara, we are committed to the physical, spiritual, and mental health of the whole person,” Maher said. “We recognize that for our students, the university living-learning experience is rewarding, enriching, and engaging.”

To learn more or see the full list of panels offered, click here.