Stressed? Help and Healthy Resources

By , April 15, 2020 11:29 am

An interview with Dr. Arnie Abels, Director of UMKC Counseling Services, by Patricia O’Dell.

The strain of the personal and global effects of the coronavirus pandemic may be unavoidable.  But there are resources available to help manage stress and anxiety.  Arnie Abels, Ph.D., director of Counseling, Health, Testing and Disability Services at UMKC, suggests strengthening your assets may help you manage your emotional needs.

“One thing to remember is that every experience is individual,” Abels said.  “For some people, isolation is a huge blow.  Those folks are learning to be creative – trying new activities or using Zoom or online activities – to stay connected to other students, friends and family.

For others, the physical constraints may be more challenging.  They need to figure out how to get enough sleep, the best way to exercise and create a routine.  Others’ primary concerns may be financial as they lose jobs and may need to change living situations.

All of this is valid.  Each of us needs to understand that all of these things are important and manage our own individual emotional needs.”

He notes that students graduating this spring may be feeling completely differently than underclassmen.  “Having the experience of virtual graduation and the opportunity to walk at a later date may be more helpful than some people realize,” Abels said.  “It may ease the grief of not experiencing that ceremony.  For some, it may be a wonderful addition.”

Noticing an increase of posts on social media related to alcohol and drugs, Abels cautions about turning to substances for relief.  “First, smoking cigarettes or cannabis creates vulnerability in your lungs, which we all need to avoid,” he said.  “We don’t judge, but we want to encourage people to make healthy choices. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink – if you’re of legal age – but drinking to excess can create difficult situations with difficult consequences, especially if you are using it to avoid feelings.”

There are healthier ways to deal with stress.  “Getting enough sleep is very important,” Abels said. “One of the things that may help with this is regular exercise. Eating healthy will feel better. But not everything needs to be productive.  Along with online exercise videos, Swinney Rec is offering a video-gaming competition.  That could be a great escape as well.”

Abels encourages people to take the opportunity to see how we can grow and become better individually and as a group.  “Personally, I’m writing letters to the people I care about.  It’s a creative process for me and it allows me to let people know in a way that may be out of the ordinary and maybe more special than an email or text.”

Mental Health Resources

Personal counseling:  UMKC Counseling offers several resources to students, faculty and staff to promote mental health.  There is currently a waitlist, but Abels and his team are working with the Missouri Governor’s Office to try and suspend licensing restrictions so that they can provide online counseling to students who are now outside the state.

Mind Over Mood:  A three-week workshop focused on grief and anxiety.  The counseling office is working to provide ADA- compatible transcripts and videos on the site as additional resources.

Movement Matters:  Swinney Recreation is offering fitness classes available through Instagram stories, and Esports including PS4 and X-Box Fifa and Madden.

Help at Your Fingertips:
The Sanvello app provides on-demand help for stress, anxiety and depression.
Roos for Mental Health has additional resources.

Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) for 2020-2021

By , March 13, 2020 9:36 am

The Peer Academic Leadership (PAL) Program is seeking engaged undergraduate students to serve as Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. This is a great opportunity for students interested in helping others while developing their leadership skills.

Want to learn more?

  • Stop by the Peer Connection (ASSC 2nd Floor) during our walk-in hours: Wednesdays 2-3pm and Thursdays 11am-Noon
  • Email or call 816-235-6709

Apply here:

Priority application deadline is March 20, 2020

Your Vote Counts!

By , March 10, 2020 10:51 am

Voting begins on March 16, 2020 at 7:00am and ends on March 19, 2020 at 11:59pm.  

All voting will take place via the Roo Groups system at:

Student Art Exhibition opens March 19

By , March 5, 2020 3:05 pm
Images courtesy of the artist

Prescribed Assimilation a HARD pill to swallow

MA Exhibition by Luke Blevins at the UMKC Gallery of Art

March 19th– April 18th, 2020

Opening Reception: Thursday, March 19, 5-7 pm

Prescribed Assimilation explores the tangential relationships between boyhood, social expectations, queer culture, heteronormative assimilationism, and nostalgia. Blevins uses nostalgia as a sense of self-identity to reference and recontextualize the past through his personal lens. Nostalgia lends itself to fantasy as our memories are unreliable; we create gilded moments to revisit as escapism.

Looking back on his childhood, Blevins see the gaps between nostalgic memories and the events that shaped him. It is in these moments that fantasy, and reality intersect. Blevins views these intersections as representing what we perceive and strive for as children and the shifting relationships we have with social structures as adults.

For Blevins, the life he has led is a queer experience that is questioned by himself and society at large. His work explores the question of how he fits into the queer community and the heteronormative state. Blevins states, “as my work grows, my ability to relate to the prescribed notion of the homosexual is stretched thinner and thinner.”

Through digital manipulation and processes, Blevins creates images that propose narratives without conclusions that are snap shots of the in-between. This is achieved via layers of information combined in photoshop; color, shadow, and object work to obscure reality and paint his experience of the world in all its falsity.

Photos become paintings which become photos again. Through shifting and reiterating concepts across mediums, Blevins states, “I make art to better understand how society has shaped me. My work is a question of acceptance, alternatives to assimilation, and how I relate to the world.”             

Everyone Counts – Complete the U.S. Census

By , February 25, 2020 9:43 am

UMKC – and Missouri – needs your help. March 12th is the first day you can respond to the 2020 census. And for the first time in American history, individuals will complete the U.S. Census online.

The state of Missouri needs everyone to complete the survey. The count impacts federal student loans; federal research grants; campus funding; campus improvements, including labs, buildings and classrooms; health and social services; federal legislation; and students’ future careers. Many professionals working in medicine, social work, nursing, science, research or public health are also heavily dependent on federal funding. College students benefit from federal student loans, legislation, campus funding, campus improvements, and health and social services.

During the month of March, the U.S. Census Bureau will make an internet link available. The department will also mail cards with PIN numbers to be used for filling out the census. People can still answer census questions by mail. By responding to the census, you can help bring resources and representation to your community and campus.

To help ensure everyone is counted, including hard-to-reach communities such as college students, a number of campus and community events will be scheduled. One event will be April 1st, which is Census Day. Specific activities are still in the planning stage and will be announced soon.

The U.S. Constitution requires a census every 10 years. The census covers the entire country and everyone living here. The Census Bureau conducts the decennial Census, the American Community Survey, the economic Census and many other surveys and is the leading source of quality data about the nation’s people and economy. Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties, academia and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Individuals’ data are confidential and federal law protects census responses. Answers can only be used to produce statistics.

The census is also important for redistricting and fair representation. Every 10 years, the results of the census are used to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets.

Quick facts about Missouri:

  • Missouri has nearly 6 million residents, and is the 18th most populated state in the U.S.
  • 338,515 students were enrolled at universities, colleges and community colleges in Missouri in fall 2019.
  • In 2017-18, 104,364 Missourians were awarded $431,411,598 in Pell Grants based in part on census data.
  • Census survey data are one factor to determine the funding for many programs in higher education.

Provost Open Forum – 26 Feb 2020

By , February 20, 2020 1:51 pm
UMKC students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in an open forum as part of the search for the next Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Administrative Center, Plaza Room

Join Tim McIntosh, Director of Talent Fulfillment, and members of the search committee in listening to input from the university community regarding the desired characteristics and qualifications of candidates for the position. Input from the UMKC community is invaluable to the committee’s work to represent university constituents and leaders throughout this important search process. Please join us at the forum and share your perspectives.

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