Student employees in Wellness Resource Center are here to help

Support for students, especially during trying times, is what makes the Wellness Resource Center an important part of the MU experience. 

Coleen Smith attends the front desk in the Wellness Resource Center
Coleen Smith attends the front desk in the Wellness Resource Center Oct. 30, 2020. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

By Tara Prindle

Going to college during a pandemic can be stressful, but the student employees in the MU Wellness Resource Center (WRC) are here to help.

“I love helping others,” said sophomore Coleen Smith, who works day-to-day at the front desk, answering calls from students about the programs the WRC provides.

Smith wants to become an occupational therapist. “I saw this job as a great stepping stone into the health care field and as a way I can make a positive impact on my peers by helping with general wellness.”

At the Wellness Resource Center, students have access to free workshops for everything from managing anxiety to learning to sleep well. Most of the services are offered through Zoom or some other virtual communication.

Smith is learning to resolve problems independently and how to communicate with other students about serious topics, which is especially important now.

“Just recently, a student walked in, asking me for help with his friend who was having a hard time dealing with her anxiety around COVID-19,” Smith said. “I was able to tell him about the Sanvello app, as well as our programs to help relieve stress and anxiety. I also told him about one of our partner facilities, the Counseling Center, and how [his friend] could make an appointment there to talk with a professional about her anxiety.”

Senior Taylor Cox, who also works at the Wellness Resource Center, had a similar experience.

“I had a student walk into our office, extremely shaken up and needing someone to talk to about his anxiety and depression,” she said.

Cox said she knew immediately that the student needed professional help. She walked him to the Counseling Center, chatting casually with him along the way to relieve the student’s stress.

“We finally arrived at the Counseling Center and he thanked me for my time and stated that I made him feel much better,” Cox said. “Knowing I could get through to him and make him feel slightly better made me feel good inside.”

Support for students, especially during trying times, is what makes the Wellness Resource Center an important part of the MU experience. Students ambassadors like Smith and Cox effectively communicate and empathize with every student they encounter.

“Your college years are some of the most stressful years you will encounter in life,” Cox said. “Although they might be the most fun, many students fall victim to the stress, anxiety and other mental and emotional complications that results from attending college. The Wellness Resource Center is a great resort for MU students to go to and know that their health comes first.”