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Mulerider Expert: Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

As a college student, mental health is important. For this edition of Mulerider Expert, I spoke with Cheryl Goodheart, director of Counseling Center, about dealing with stress and anxiety. Goodheart is originally from Magnolia, Arkansas.


Cheryl is a Licensed Professional Counselor and began working in the mental health field in 1992.

She obtained her Bachelor of Art in Psychology and her Master of Education in Agency Counseling from SAU. She has over 15 years of experience working in the mental health field.

Before we started talking about mental health overall, I asked her if she had an interesting fact she would like to share. She said, “One of my favorite memories of college life at SAU was when I decided to step out of my comfort zone and joined the ROTC rifle team. I was able to meet people I would have never met had I not taken the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone.”

There are so many opportunities to get out of your comfort zone on campus. We have a multitude of clubs, organizations, sororities, and fraternities that you can join.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in counseling?
“Pursuing a career in counseling is something I have always wanted to do, even as a child. I wanted to be able to understand why people do the things they do and what makes them feel the way they feel.”

What is one thing you would tell a student that is dealing with stress or anxiety?
“I would tell them to breathe. Sometimes in the moment of stress and or anxiety, we forget to take a moment and breathe. I would tell students to break big tasks down to smaller tasks and to pace themselves. I would remind them they are welcome to come and talk to any of the counselors at any time if needed.”

What would you say is the number one reason students visit your office?
“I would say the number one reasons would be either anxiety or depression.”

What would you tell a student that is embarrassed or scared to schedule a visit?
“I would tell them that most of the time, people do not know which office a student is entering. It takes a lot of courage to seek counseling. When you seek counseling, you are not avoiding the problem because you are scared; you are attacking it head-on. Many departments around campus are trying to encourage the way people look at mental health.”

What are the top 5 challenges you see college students facing?

The Counseling Center is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The top 5 challenges facing students, I see, are anxiety, depression, maintaining motivation to keep up their school work, not using campus resources, and balancing a healthy lifestyle.”
There are many ways around the campus to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Take advantage of the Mulerider Activity Center, the Mule Bikes, and the farm road.

What would you tell a homesick student?
“If a student were homesick, I would tell them to maintain regular contact with family and friends from back home. They could invite them to activities put on by SAU. I try to make sure that they know they do not have to go through it alone. You have support from your roommate, to your RA and RD, all the way to professors and administration.”

This week, September 9-13, SAU is raising awareness about Sexual Assault. All week there are red and teal flags in the mall area in support of survivors of dating violence and sexual assault. I decided to ask Mrs. Goodheart a question regarding this week.

With this week being sexual assault awareness week on campus, is there anything you would like SAU students to know?“Please stay vigilant, not just this week but all year long. Please look out for yourself and your friends. If you see someone in trouble, do not be afraid to intervene. If you happen to find yourself in a scary situation, let a friend know. If you are in a situation, do not be afraid to call UPD. They can come to pick you up. We want you to feel empowered to control what happens to yourself and the students around you.”
“It’s on US to stop Sexual Assault.”

How do you schedule a visit with a counselor?
“A student can schedule a visit with a counselor by calling the counseling center, dropping by and scheduling one, or they can look up a personal email of one of the counselors at https://web.saumag.edu/counseling/.”

Below is a list of numbers you should take advantage of if needed;
University Police Department – (870) 235-4100
University Health Services – (870) 235-5263
The Counseling Center – (870) 235-4911

Also available to you is the website for Title IX where you can submit a report or complaint or help a victim; https://web.saumag.edu/title-ix/all-ears/.

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