New Mental Health Program at UH Meets Needs of Indigenous Students

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Thousands of college students are adjusting to life on campus after two years of distance learning, and some feel they need more mental health services.

A recent study found that more than half of American college students suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. This crisis has been exacerbated during her COVID pandemic, disproportionately affecting Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students.

Last semester was tough for UH Jr. Kaiya LaGuardia. Under the pressure of her success, she tried to enroll in the university’s free counseling her service, but access was limited.

“It was kind of a very long wait, which is worrying because there are people who want access to things but can’t get help in the moment,” LaGuardia said. said Mr. You are limited to 7 free sessions before being referred to an outside clinic.

A UH spokesperson said the current waiting time for a session is about two weeks, less for emergencies, and better than months of waiting time at an outside clinic.

New this semester — Mental Health Program for Indigenous Students and Their Behavioral Health Needs.

“It’s definitely a huge stigma for mental health, especially within the Native Hawaiian, Indigenous and Pacific Islander communities. Get over it and you’ll be fine, focus on being with your family and you’ll be fine.” said LaGuardia.

“But sometimes that’s not always the case. And when other things are involved, like first-generation students and students whose statistics are against them when it comes to graduating in the first place. I think you feel like you have to keep it to yourself, which sometimes isn’t healthy.”

Dr. Jillian Freitas is Director of Ka Malu a Waʻahila, a JABSOM program that provides free therapy services, monthly group support sessions, and self-help tools. Counseling sessions are conducted in conjunction with the Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC) at the University of Manoa.

“They historically didn’t have Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander clinicians. “There is potential,” she said. “Both of our clinicians are trained in Western traditional psychology, but they also look at health from an Indigenous perspective.”

This means providing culturally appropriate treatment that takes into account what experts call historical and generational trauma.

“Historically, Hawaiians have been disenfranchised and placed in a position where achieving higher education is less realistic,” says UH PhD student and cultural advisor Kype Baker. I was. “Give them purpose and give them a community to not only improve their mental health, but to improve their overall health and life trajectory.”

“Look at the historical and generational trauma and the trauma of colonized peoples,” Dr. Freitas said. “It may manifest like collective sadness and grief. On the other hand, we really believe in indigenous resilience and indigenous joy. I think there are a lot of strengths that we have as a community that help highlight the path.”

“It’s about connecting with a place, connecting with Aina, connecting with the past and the future, connecting with community, connecting with a better self. I think it will serve as a guideline for the future,” she added.

For more information on Counseling Services at the University of Manoa, please click here.

Here is a breakdown of the mental health services offered at UH Manoa:

  • Free mental health services for UH Manoa students are provided by mental health professionals at the UH Manoa Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC).
  • Services include brief individual, couples, and group counseling, crisis intervention, peer-to-peer support, outreach services, and referrals to on-campus resources and community providers.
  • Regular services will continue to be provided using Zoom.
  • Scheduled Appointments, Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm
  • The center is located in Room 312 of the Queen Liliuokalani Student Services Center.
  • Students can call (808) 956-7927 to schedule an initial phone appointment with a counselor.
  • This year, all UH Mānoa students will also have access to Therapy Assistance Online (TAO). It is a series of online educational programs with engaging videos, animations, and interactive activities that use evidence-based content to address common mental health-related issues. Students can access anonymously and free of charge using their UH email address.

Student Housing Consultation Service

  • Residence Hall residents have access to the Counselor-in-Residence (CIR) program
  • CIRs are on-campus resident and working counselors who provide on-site counseling, workshops and seminars to dormitory residents, as well as crisis intervention, referral services, counseling and training for dormitory staff. You can
  • Residents of dormitories may consult a CIR at CSDC Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (808) 956-7927.
  • Counselors are also available after 16:30 weekday and 24 hours Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays You can also reach out to most housing staff members, including Resident Assistants (RAs), RAs on-call, or Resident Directors.
  • The CIR usually responds within 15 minutes and arrives on site to meet with the student.


University of Manoa students can also call the Hawaii Crisis Line at (808) 832-3100.

· The Hawaii Crisis Line handles questions about all types of mental health crises 24/7 and can appropriately respond to questions about suicide, danger, and other mental health crises.

· For referrals to other community resources, students can call ASK-2000 (275-2000).

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