HAMILTON, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Between coming out of the pandemic and battling seasonal depression – students have a lot on their plates right now, in addition to worrying about classes and grades.

“It’s a really hard time for college students,” said Dawn LaFrance, Assist. VP of Counseling & Psychological Services at Colgate University.

“I really think Covid took a hit on a lot of people, and particularly like, I mean – their first years were in high school during screens and masks – so they’re really coming out of that,” she said.

“I think it took a toll – so we’re doing all that we can to get people the help that they need.”

Aside from students checking on one another to look for changes in behavior, LaFrance also says the residence life staff also has a responsibility to look out for students as well.

“It’s really important that our res life student staff are distributed throughout our campus so that they can really get to know different students and then see if there are big changes,” she explained.

“So again, that’s along the lines of big sleep changes, energy level, eating habits, religiosity, for instance, or suspiciousness, those kinds of things.”

She explains that the counseling center is well-utilized at the university.

“At the counseling center, we typically see about half of the students before they graduate at some point during their four years at Colgate,” said LaFrance.

“Our groups took a little dip after Covid, I don’t think people wanted to group together yet, and now this semester we’re really seeing them come alive again,” she said, “So, we have about 13 groups that function each week and were doing a great job getting our students into those, and then the students really end up liking those.”

And also, the university as a whole has a plan to address this ongoing issue.

“The other thing that we’re trying to do more and more of is train faculty, staff, and sort of the student body generally, on noticing warning signs, and talk to them about how to talk to others when they’re concerned about them and then refer them to those resources,” she said.