Health & Wellbeing Resources
Working for social change is hard and taxing work. Staying healthy and engaging in self-care is paramount to ensuring that you are doing the most that you can for your community and not letting your work impair your health. OSU students can access many resources on campus designed to keep them feeling their best. Use the information and links below to find out more about some of these resources.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides counseling, consultation, and mental health outreach and education to OSU students, faculty, and staff. Their homepage features links to resources, information on how to make an appointment, and descriptions of their programs and services. DAM Good Self-Care is any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Recreational Sports strives to encourage and support the OSU community in pursuit of physical activity and wellness. Find activities you enjoy and people you enjoy being active with on their website.
Student Health Services provides leadership for health on campus and contributes to the success of students and the university community. You can access information on their services, how to make an appointment, and wellness resources from their website. Be sure to also check out the SHS volunteer page for information on how to get involved with a wellness-focused volunteer group like Peer Health Advocates, Every1, or the Sexual Health Advisory Group.
Community Engagement & Wellbeing Research
Did you know that engaging in your community benefits your health and well-being? It's true, many studies have found positive relationships between activities like community service, advocacy, and activism and positive physical, emotional/mental, and social wellbeing outcomes. Community engagement allows people to be have a deeper sense of meaning and purpose, build relationships with others who have similar interests, and often engage in activities that require physical activity. Check out the articles and research below to find out for yourself.
Press Release: "Volunteering Produces Health Benefits"
This Corporation for National & Community Service press release gives a succinct account the research that supports the relationship between volunteerism and health. In it, Thomas H. Sander, executive director of the Saguaro Seminar at Harvard University calls civic engagement "the new hybrid health club for the 21st century that's free to join...". The Corporation for National & Community Service also has a list of other related benefits of volunteering.
In this article published in Psychology Today, Paula Davis-Laack, JD, MAPP, offers 10 habits that happy people keep to maintain their mental and emotional well-being. Amongst them are cultivating strong communities and volunteering time. From the article: "Acts of kindness help you feel good about yourself and others, and the resulting positive emotions enhance your psychological and physical resilience."
This report, published by the Corporation for National & Community Service reviews and summarizes the findings of studies exploring the relationships between volunteering and physical well-being, mental health, aging, life satisfaction, illness, and more. It also describes a "volunteering threshold" at which individuals begin to accrue health benefits that may be as low as 40hrs/yr--less than 1 hour a week! It concludes that although the studies "differ in terms of their specific findings, they consistently demonstrate that there is a significant relationship between volunteering and good health..." (13).
Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development. The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, Washington, DC 2007.
Elizabeth Scott, MS in Counseling with a specialization in Family Therapy, describes in this article 7 stress-management benefits of volunteerism. A feeling of connection to others, a sense of meaning, a reminder to feel gratitude, and an opportunity to use one's unique gifts are amongst those she presents.
This study conducted by Stephen G. Post of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that "strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally and behaviorally compassionate, so long as they are not overwhelmed by helping tasks." Post reviews an extensive body of research to eplore the benefits of volunteering on mental and physical health, prupose possible mechanisms behind the relationship, and explore its public health and social implications. Those looking for a rigorous, and well-written academic paper to support the link between engagement and health will find this article compelling. Read the abstract.
Terry Y. Lum and Elizabeth Lightfoot of the University of Minnesota found that in adults 70 and older “volunteering slows the decline in self-reported health and functioning levels, slows the increase in depression levels, and improves mortality rates...”
Drawing data from the US, Francesca Borgonovi of The London School of Economics, Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion found that those who volunteer report great health and happiness. Interestingly, this relationship "is not driven by socio-economic differences between volunteers and nonvolunteers."