Resources available for students struggling with mental health

Groups like Cougar Health Services, Lane K. Brown Foundation have services, programs to address suicide, mental health issues



The Lane K. Brown Foundation is a local nonprofit that provides resources for those struggling with suicidal ideation. Volunteers and team members are pictured here at the 2019 National Lentil Festival Parade in downtown Pullman.

HANNAH BOUCHER, Evergreen reporter

Sept. 5- 11 marks National Suicide Prevention Week — a time for discussions that bring awareness to suicide prevention and different resources available to students in need.

Regardless of their year of study, many students may feel overwhelmed returning to campus and being surrounded by thousands of people every day after almost two years of isolation. They also may not be familiar with the various mental health resources available in Pullman.

Cougar Health Services is one of the many resources available. Counseling and Psychological Services are available to everyone and students receive 12 free appointments every year. Appointments can be made through the Cougar Health Services website or over the phone at 509-335-4511.

There are also free suicide prevention workshops offered throughout the year, said Andrew Song, health education coordinator for Cougar Health Services. Campus Connect suicide prevention trainings are evidence-based workshops designed to spread awareness and help WSU students and faculty members better serve a love one in need.

Each month, a workshop is offered to all students via Zoom, in addition to in-person workshops for those on the Pullman campus.

“We train them in active listening, communication skills and relationship-building skills,” Song said.

Song said they also offer mental health first-aid training that teaches bystanders skills to help someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis.

Community members can register for the next in-person Campus Connect workshop scheduled for Sept. 20 through Cougar Health Services’ website.

Many students also partake in self-care to maintain their mental health. Sam Lansky, WSU senior data analytics major, spent most of his time during the pandemic taking up new hobbies, such as yoga and playing the guitar.

While in remote learning, WSU senior Sam Lansky found getting outside, playing guitar and practicing yoga helps maintain his mental health.

Lansky believes it is important to separate your home life from your school life to help control that overwhelming feeling of stress. He said that even back on campus, he finds that his self-care helps relieve the pressures of college life.

Along with practicing yoga, Lansky said he is constantly practicing positive thoughts, repeating his father’s mantra, ‘Stress comes from the future and the past, so let’s just focus on the present.’

Lansky said that learning the guitar has helped him learn the importance of having patience with himself, both in his musical endeavors and in life.

“It all takes time; don’t wish time away. It all comes naturally,” Lansky said.

In addition to on-campus services, there are off-campus counseling and support groups available to students

The Lane K. Brown Foundation is a nonprofit organization in Pullman that aims to help community members struggling with suicidal thoughts through prevention, education, intervention, community outreach and involvement. 

Founded in late 2018, the foundation is there to support the community in memory of the founder’s son, Lane Brown.

Foundation Treasurer Autumn Avery said she has been with the organization since it was founded. Avery’s main job within the organization is to write grants and fundraise money so the foundation can continue to offer its free services to the community, like its mental health support line.

Once or twice a month, Fighting Against Suicide Together support groups are held through the foundation, which are free and open to the public. Currently, these meetings are virtual. However, Avery said they hope to return to in-person eventually.

The foundation’s mental health support line is available 24/7 for those experiencing negative thoughts and need support. The support line is anonymous and can be reached by calling 509-592-0914. While the foundation does not offer professional counseling services, the team wants to do everything they can to help those in need.

“Your life matters whether you feel like it or not; we want to help you,” Avery said. “We just want the entire community in Whitman and Latah County to know we’re here.”