Counseling Center provides support during high-stress season

The combination of the stress surrounding final exams and the mixed reaction to the presidential election is creating tension at UM. Administration and faculty are looking for ways to help students unite after the election.

One outlet for students feeling this tension and frustration is the Counseling Center.

Dr. René Monteagudo, director of the Counseling Center, said the lead-up to Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for the center. Students who frequent the Counseling Center are also mentioning the election more now that it is over.

“The counselors have remained open and understanding to all facets of the election results, and supportive to all students regardless of whom they voted for. I have personally made myself available to students groups who may struggling with the outcome of the election, as have other staff members,” he said.

Students may experience added stress during this time of the year, when many are returning home for the holidays and may be confronted by family members with different political views.

Given the current demonstrations around the UM campus and around the country, Dr. Monteagudo said, “we should work towards supporting each other and embracing our differences. As President Frenk stated in his letter to UM, we need to continue to work together and build trust with one another so that we can celebrate and affirm our collective voices.”

Two days after the long and hard-fought election ended, Frenk wrote a letter addressing the student body of UM. He thanked students for participating in our democracy and reached out to those who have expressed concerns about the President-elect.

“Regardless of the transitions ahead in Washington, we will stay focused on being an exemplary university – one that fosters respectful dialogue on challenging topics in the quest to find truth and understand each other better,” Frenk wrote. “Our core values – diversity, integrity, responsibility, excellence, creativity, compassion, and teamwork – are the foundation of who we are. I see those values lived out every day at this great University. I see disagreement and debate approached with respect. I see an openness to beliefs that may be in conflict with our own. I see a commitment to diversity and inclusion that truly makes us an example.”

Some protesters from minority communities still have concerns about their voices being heard. Dr. Monteagudo wants students to turn those emotions into actions.

“I would advise them to find supportive communities, friend and family members where they can share their concerns. Also, putting their feelings and thoughts into actions such as voting every year, getting involved in social causes and holding leaders accountable,” he said.

After Thanksgiving, organizations on campus have been regrouping and talking about their breaks. For example, the LGBTQ Student Center hosted a discussion called “Leftovers: Post Thanksgiving Conversation” with Dr. Monteagudo on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The goal of the event was to debrief after Thanksgiving break. It was open to members of all political ideologies. Dr. Monteagudo wanted to address how students who are upset by the election can take steps to move forward.

On its website, the Counseling Center has a section called “Post Election Stress.” They encourage students to call the center via phone at 305-284-5511 or come in for a walk-in appointment.

The Counseling Center is located in Rhodes House at 1204 Dickinson Drive Suites N&S.

November 30, 2016


Dana Franco

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