Helping Rochester Destress

Stressed female student

Being “Ever Better”

Did you know that the number of students at the University of Rochester that have claimed they felt overwhelming anxiety about school work has increased from 51% in 2009 to 64% in 2017? This is over 50% of the student body. In addition to this, a shocking 27% of students now report that their anxiety has affected their academic performance in some way, in comparison to only 19% in 2009.

Although Rocheser’s motto is Meliora, or “ever better”, which leads students to taking on more than they can handle, these data from the ACHA-NCHA survey clearly warrant a dialogue on stress, mental health awareness and support among the student population. We can still strive to be “ever better”, but addressing mental health is the first step in helping students grades, well-being, personal life, and most importantly the overall campus climate.

Time to Destress, Rochester!

To address this issue, the UHS Health Promotion Office puts on a myriad of mental wellness programs throughout the year. One of which is a DeStress Fest that is held twice a year. On Thursday November 16th, the Peer Health Advocate team members Rebecca Block, Sadya Ouedraogo, and Charlotte Pillow put together and hosted this event in the main library. This event was held at this time because it marked three fourths through the semester, which is a time when it’s very easy for students to burn out. As this happens, it is very important to learn how to take effective breaks from their studies.

During this event, over sixty students came to enjoy a cup of tea, make some brain-power boosting trail mix, relax with some coloring pages, play games, write cards that will go to Golisano Children’s Hospital and create their own lavender sachets. In our evaluation, we were interested to look at students stress levels coming into and leaving this event, and we found that out of the 38 assessments completed, students stress levels decreased by 34%! In addition to this, most students also stated that they enjoyed the sand and making the lavender sachets the most.

Students came and went during this program, as some stayed for only 5 minutes and then some who stayed for over an hour. Just this short amount of time had an impact on these individuals stress levels and comes to show the importance of taking time to practice self-care and de-stressing activities while in stressful but also relaxing times. Integrating short, de-stressing activities like coloring or smelling some lavender into each day can significantly make an impact on your overall stress and well-being! Here are some other great ways to de-stress.


By Rebecca Block
Peer Health Advocate
Class of 2018