Student Success/Health and Safety

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Student health center
Substance abuse
Mental health
Sexual health

This lesson introduces health and safety. In this lesson you will learn about the importance of nutrition, exercise, sleep, mental health, sexual health, and safety, and the risks of substance abuse and the impacts of stress.

Objectives and Skills[edit | edit source]

Objectives and skills for this lesson include:

  • Describe the major risks of an unhealthy diet and the benefits of healthy eating[1]
  • Identify the benefits of regular exercise, for both body and brain[2]
  • Identify benefits of sleep for both physical and mental health[3]
  • Explain what substance use and abuse is and identify the warning signs that help may be needed[4]
  • List healthy ways of managing stress that fit your current lifestyle[5]
  • Identify the difference between occasional negative emotions and more serious mental health issues, such as anxiety disorder or depression[6]
  • Identify sexually healthy behaviors, including protecting against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease[7]
  • Describe strategies for staying safe on campus and elsewhere[8]

Readings[edit | edit source]

  1. Lumen: College Success - Nutrition
  2. Lumen: College Success - Exercise
  3. Lumen: College Success - Sleep
  4. Lumen: College Success - Substance Abuse
  5. Lumen: College Success - Stress
  6. Lumen: College Success - Mental Health
  7. Lumen: College Success - Sexual Health
  8. Lumen: College Success - Safety

Multimedia[edit | edit source]

  1. YouTube: How to Follow the USDA MyPlate Dietary Guidelines
  2. YouTube: Exercise and the Brain
  3. YouTube: Exercise and the Brain
  4. YouTube: Body Scan Meditation
  5. YouTube: Connected, but alone?
  6. YouTube: Shedding Light on Student Depression
  7. YouTube: My Rapist Is Still On Campus: Sexual Assault In The Ivy League
  8. YouTube: College Crime and Safety
  9. YouTube: Safety Tips for College Students

Activities[edit | edit source]

  1. Explore student services.
    • Contact college Health Services to learn about health and safety programs available to students.
  2. Keep a food log.
  3. Create an exercise plan.
  4. Track your sleep habits.
    • Review Lumen: College Success - Assignment: Sleep.
    • Keep a log of how much sleep you get each night for a week.
    • Add a short note each night before going to sleep describing how you felt that day and how productive you were.
    • At the end of the week, reflect on the correlation between your sleep habits and your overall health and productivity.
  5. Research substance abuse.
  6. Practice healthy stress relief.
  7. Help a friend.
    • Review Lumen: College Success - Assignment: Mental Health.
    • Contact college counseling services to learn about the process for seeking and obtaining assistance.
    • Consider your friends and their current emotional and mental states. If you have any concerns, reach out and encourage them to seek help.
  8. Understand the prevalence and impact of sexual assault.
  9. Review your personal safety.
    • Review Lumen: College Success - Assignment: Safety.
    • Think about your daily or weekly activities. In what situations do you consider yourself to be reasonably safe? Which situations are more risky? What changes should you make to improve your overall safety?
  10. Blog / Journal / Wiki
    • Update your blog, journal, or wiki page summarizing your experience this week. Include a list of resources and links or contact information for each resource.

Lesson Summary[edit | edit source]

Nutrition[edit | edit source]

USDA healthy eating guidelines include:[9]

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Focus on whole fruits, and vary your veggies
  • Make half your grains whole grains
  • Vary your protein routine
  • Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt
  • Drink and eat less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars
  • Eat the right amount

Exercise[edit | edit source]

Types of exercise include:[10]

  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Strength Training
  • Flexibility Exercises
  • Being Active Throughout the Day

Benefits of exercise include:[11]

  • Longevity
  • Diabetes Risk Reduction
  • Brain: Mood, Memory, Creativity

Sleep[edit | edit source]

Sleep helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes, and focus better.[12]

Loss of sleep impairs your higher levels of reasoning, problem-solving, and attention to detail.[13]

Sleep recommendations include:[14]

  • Set a schedule
  • Exercise
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bed
  • Relax before bed
  • Sleep until sunlight
  • Don’t lie in bed awake
  • Control your room temperature
  • Screen out noise and light
  • See a doctor if your sleeping problem continues

Substance Abuse[edit | edit source]

A drug is a chemical substance that can change how your body and mind work. Drugs of abuse are substances that people use to get high and change how they feel.[15]

Drugs include:[16]

  • Cigarettes and tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Meth
  • Prescription medications
  • Recreational drugs

If your use of drugs or alcohol is interfering with your life—negatively affecting your health, work, school, relationships, or finances—it’s time to quit or seek help.[17]

Stress[edit | edit source]

Stress is a natural response of the mind and body to a situation in which a person feels threatened or anxious.[18]

Ways to manage stress include:[19]

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Manage your time
  • Find support
  • Connect socially
  • Slow down
  • Take care of your health

Mental Health[edit | edit source]

Mental health can be defined as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.[20]

Mental health indicators include:[21]

  • Emotional well-being
  • Psychological well-being
  • Social well-being

Mental health issues include:

  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Suicidal behavior

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255). Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.[22]

International suicide hotlines are listed at

If you think someone is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone—stay there and call 911.[23]

OK2TALK is a community for young adults struggling with mental health problems. It offers a safe place to talk.[24]

Sexual Health[edit | edit source]

Sexual health concerns include:[25]

  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
  • Unintended Pregnancy
  • Sexual Assault

The surest way to protect yourself against STIs is to not have sex (practice “abstinence”). That means not having any vaginal, anal, or oral sex. There are many things to consider before having sex, and it’s okay to say no if you don’t want to have sex.[26]

If you do decide to have sex, you and your partner should get tested beforehand and make sure that you and your partner use a condom—every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex, from start to finish. Know where to get condoms and how to use them correctly. It’s not safe to stop using condoms unless you’ve both been tested, know your status, and are in a mutually monogamous relationship.[27]

If a condom breaks or you have unprotected sexual intercourse, it’s possible to take an emergency contraceptive pill (ECP)—sometimes called a “morning-after pill”—which may prevent a pregnancy from occurring.[28]

Take the following steps if you or someone you know has been raped, or you think you might have been drugged and raped:[29]

  • Get medical care right away.
  • Call the police from the hospital.
  • Ask the hospital to take a urine (pee) sample that can be used to test for date rape drugs.
  • Don’t pick up or clean up where you think the assault might have occurred.
  • Get counseling and treatment.

The U.S. National Sexual Assault Hotline phone number is 800-656-HOPE.[30]

Safety[edit | edit source]

Safety consciousness is a term describing your awareness of hazards, and your alertness to potential danger. In order to have safety consciousness, you must value safety no matter where you are or what time of day it is.[31]

Tips for staying safe include:[32]

  • Travel with a friend or use the campus escort service
  • Keep doors locked
  • Keep a close eye on your belongings
  • Be cautious, not paranoid
  • Know the phone number for Campus Safety
  • Put emergency numbers in your cell phone
  • If you see something, say something
  • Download a free personal safety app on your mobile device

Key Terms[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]