USC Psychological Care Unit: Fighting Stress and Depression Amidst the Pandemic

2023-09-09 03:00:56

The USC has a psychological care unit created as a result of covid to fight against episodes of stress and depression

09 Sep 2023. Updated at 05:00 h.

It was created to fight the harmful effects of the pandemic, but the Psychological Care Unit of the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) It has stayed after covid. It is its coordinator, the clinical psychologist Ana López Durán, who puts a revealing fact on the table: only during the 2022-2023 academic year did the group carry out 853 sessions to address episodes of anxiety, disorders and depression. That it is not a trivial issue is also confirmed by the data that was known this week of Telematic Psychological Support Service for Medical Students, which helped 177 people from all over the country during the year. Although it is a state service unrelated to the USC, Galician university students have been, along with those from Madrid and Andalusia, those who have requested it the most.

Dr. López Durán explains the cases that have been found and how they have addressed the different problems: «We work with everything that interferes with academic performance, be it episodes of anxiety, depressive episodes or everything related to performance and difficulties. with studies”. She confirms that “we also advise them with other issues and follow up with them until they receive an appointment. For example, with eating problems we explain to them what the procedure is to go to the eating disorders unit of the Clinical Hospital and, while they are not given an appointment, we provide them with support.

But in the case of medical students, what usually are the problems? «It is a race where competitiveness and the perfection They can create anxiety and overwhelm. There is a lot of perfectionism because they are people who enter with a very high average grade. They are people who perform very well academically and He is very concerned about continuing to have those grades.», responds López Durán, who believes that «those people who have a very high level of perfectionism tend to become more overwhelmed. If you add to that the competitiveness of being the best, you can find yourself with different problems.

In the case of the Compostela unit, open to all types of careers, he recognizes that “we also face many complicated personal situations. “There are people who are going through difficult situations, which can be both family and economic, and that can affect their studies.”

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It emphasizes that there are no unique recipes, but how do you fight perfectionism? «Sometimes you have to set small challenges for yourself. It is important to assess what is the worst that can happen if I do not achieve this? If I am not capable, what can happen to me? “, explains the psychologist, who admits that”You can’t always reach 100 and you have to stay at 90».

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It confirms that this, logically, is not exclusive to medical students. «Arriving at university generates changes for you, you have more tasks: shopping, cooking, clothes, studying… With the subjects they give them all the same importance when there are some that have less influence on the final grade and they can still invest in it less time”. Recognize that no one is forced to be perfect It is another cognitive mechanism that the Psychological Care Unit always puts on the table.

The time before exams is the time with the highest demand for the service

The coordinator of the unit, Ana López Durán, confirms the arrival of students demanding help varies throughout the year: “In September the initial blow occurs.” With the arrival of exam season, demand increases “since they have stress to hand in assignments and study.” She acknowledges that at the beginning of the second semester they are also looking for collaboration because “they want to start working in February so they don’t get caught.”

The group, formed by López Durán as coordinator, has two other health psychologists who are in charge of caring for the students: «The hours would need to be increased, because there is a lot of demand and a waiting list. Once we see them we have a weekly session, but sometimes they have to wait for that first assessment».

The level of satisfaction indicates that it is very high, since “when we discharge we make an evaluation of what they thought of the treatment.” Reaching first-year students is one of the objectives set for the future, since “it is true that they barely know us when they arrive. We are available to all students enrolled at USC, including master’s and doctoral students, of whom we also have some. Men, women and of all careers and ages, there is no university contract profile that requires a session of the unit.

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