Student Organizations? YES, Please! Transcript

Students transitioning to college can experience a range of emotions: excitement, loneliness, anxiety, expanded freedom, and more.  But never fear! Strong social networks aid in coping with drastic life change. Regardless of background, involvement in student organizations can be a key to success for many students. Research shows that student organizations can satisfy this need for social belonging, personal growth, and identity development, ALL things that are developing during college years.

Support from a student organization can provide a home away from home for those longing for belonging and depth of friendship. During COVID-19, it is common to leave the dorm only when necessary. These necessary restrictions also mean reduced interaction with fellow students.  These restrictions, however, do not change the fact that social belonging is a key factor to academic success for many students. Student organizations provide a community for social formation, leadership opportunities, and exposure to diversity of everything from skin color to hometown. Student organizations can provide an open and honest arena for questions and a place to experience personal growth. College is a launching pad for future career as well as family goals. Experiences in clubs, along with the general college experience, help provide a place for students to seek wise counsel, develop leadership skills and form their personal identity.

If you are interested in getting involved in a student organization at the University of Kentucky, visit their Campus Labs platform BBNvolved to display the many options in one place. Look through the list and find a group that interests you. Get involved soon after arriving on campus. Be persistent and don’t be quick to give up. It might take a few weeks or even a few months to find the best fit for you. Developing friendships takes time, especially in larger organizations. If you have consistently had a negative experience with a student organization, don’t be discouraged, just try a new one. Find your niche! Research shows that, if you do, you are more likely to achieve success during your college years.

To learn more about student organizations at UK, visit BBNvolved.

If you are having issues getting connected or issues with a student organization, please e-mail or set up a time to talk to an involvement advisor by emailing You can also request an appointment online.


Freeman, T. M., Anderman, L. H., & Jensen, J. M. (2007). Sense of belonging in college freshmen at the classroom and campus levels. The Journal of Experimental Education75(3), 203-220.

Mankowski, E. S., & Thomas, E. (2000). The relationship between personal and collective identity: A narrative analysis of a campus ministry community. Journal of Community Psychology28(5), 517-528.


Kicking Social Anxiety to the Curb Transcript

Have you ever walked into a room to give a presentation that you had been creating for weeks then all of a sudden, your heart starts racing, you feel dizzy like you are about to pass out, your palms are sweaty and you are nauseous! Everything you had prepared for seems to disappear in an instant! Everyone is attentive, ready to listen to you and as they look at you your mind keeps racing with questions, “Am I making a fool of myself? What is happening to me? Why is my heart pounding so hard? Why is it so hard to catch my breath? Maybe this was not meant for me…”. Your mind keeps spiraling downhill with negative thoughts and you cannot wait for this to be over so that you can run out and catch some air.

Have you ever wanted to make friends and go to events, but every conversation is a struggle? Deep within you are fearful that you may say something awkward, embarrass yourself and get judged. People may think you are anti-social, yet you are not. What you may be experiencing is Social Anxiety Disorder, and you are not alone. Approximately 5 to 16% of adults in US have been diagnosed with a Social Anxiety Disorder in their lifetime 1,2.  Social Anxiety is a situation where you have excess fear in social interactions because you think you may be judged or scrutinized by others, you worry about embarrassing or humiliating yourself, or offending someone. Social Anxiety may change over time and can flare up under stress. Having Social Anxiety may affect your school, work, and other social activities. A person with Social Anxiety may want to avoid certain situations including but not limited to:

  • Interacting with unfamiliar people or strangers
  • Attending social gatherings
  • Going to work or school because of the social interactions
  • Starting conversations
  • Making eye contact
  • Entering a room if people are already seated
  • Using a public restroom
  • Eating in front of others
  • Dating

Avoiding such situations may SEEM to make you feel better but that does not solve the issue. There are several evidence-based interventions that have been proven to work in addressing Social Anxiety3.

  1. Psychotherapy/ cognitive behavior therapy which teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations in ways to feel less anxious and fearful.
  2. Joining a support group with people who have social anxiety
  3. Medications such as anti-anxiety medications/ antidepressants or beta blockers.
  4. A combination of both psychotherapy and medications
  5. Mindfulness training
  6. Social skills training
  7. Exercise and relaxation techniques

The first step to treatment is talking to your health provider who will establish a diagnosis and advise you on what to do. Your provider may refer you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, or counselor.

For more information on Social Anxiety Disorder and evidence-based interventions, go to: National Social Anxiety Center or Center for Clinical Interventions


1.         Stein DJ, Lim CCW, Roest AM, et al. The cross-national epidemiology of social anxiety disorder: Data from the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. BMC medicine. 2017;15(1):143.

2.         Miloyan B, Bulley A, Brilot B, Suddendorf T. The association of Social Anxiety Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and reproduction: Results from four nationally representative samples of adults in the USA. PLoS ONE 12(11): e0188436. 2017.

3.         Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017;19(2):93-107.

Kicking Social Anxiety to the Curb

Social anxiety is very common, in fact, approximately 5 to 16% of adults in the US have been diagnosed with a Social Anxiety Disorder in their lifetime.  Social Anxiety is a situation where you have excess fear in social interactions because you think you may be judged or scrutinized by others, you worry about embarrassing or humiliating yourself, or offending someone. This video examines the symptoms and treatments for social anxiety disorder.

Staying Connected Enhances Social Wellness Transcript

Social wellness is about relationships, how we interact with one another, and build a community. It involves establishing close, healthy, and trusting relationships at home, work, or in the community, which can provide us with support during difficult times. Social wellness requires building healthy relationships with others and learning to develop genuine connections with those around you. It also requires nurturing the connections we have made to enable them to grow into a strong bond over time. The benefits of social wellness are endless. A socially healthy person has a better quality of life and increased longevity. Our social connections/ networks also help us to stay focused on tasks, enhances responsibility, and allows others to hold you accountable. On the contrary, when someone is socially isolated or has few social connections, they have increased risks of developing negative physical and mental health outcomes including substance use and misuse, high blood pressure, heart diseases, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, and increased risks of dying by suicide.

To enhance social wellness, one needs to be self-aware, to have a non-judgmental attitude, and to have genuine acceptance for others. Having a positive attitude, listening to others, being willing to compromise, being caring, and empathetic also creates a safe support system. In addition, having good communication skills facilitates positive interactions with others in different settings and minimizes conflict. Most importantly, practicing self-care can strengthen our social connections and provide motivation for others to live a healthy lifestyle through exercising, eating healthy, understanding, and making better life choices.

With the current COVID 19 crisis, maintaining physically distancing has been shown to curb the spread of the virus. At such times while physically isolating, it is important to still stay connected with our networks and nurture the connections that we have. Though we may not be able to gather and have our usual face-to-face social interactions, it is important to stay in touch with family, friends, and other support systems through phone calls, video chats, and other creative ways using technology. One can also engage in an online community that shares similar interests. When taking walks, we could also wave and/or say hello to our neighbors while maintaining 6 feet distance. We could also use this time to strengthen the relationships with the people we live with and engage in acts of kindness in the community such as helping the elderly to grocery shop while still maintaining physical distance or making cloth masks for people in need. Most importantly, practicing self-care may help us manage our own stress and by nurturing ourselves, we are able to nurture others and our relationships.


Courtet, P., Olié, E., Debien, C., & Vaiva, G. (2020). Keep socially (but not physically) connected and carry on: preventing suicide in the age of COVID-19. The Journal of clinical psychiatry81(3), 0-0.

Saltzman, L. Y., Hansel, T. C., & Bordnick, P. S. (2020). Loneliness, isolation, and social support factors in post-COVID-19 mental health. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.

Overwhelmed? Keep Your Boat Steady.

Overwhelmed? BH WELL's very own Bassema Abu-Farsakh relates to feeling overwhelmed as a wife, parent, graduate student, and student worker. This video shares practical tips to help keep our boats steady as we cope with day to day stress. 

Staying Connected Enhances Social Wellness

Social wellness impacts the quality of one's life. This video addresses the human need for social wellness and the importance of staying connected with others. The benefits of social wellness are endless but some examples include greater focus on tasks, increased responsibility, and a more meaningful life.

6 Ways Occupational Therapists Can Support People Living with Mental Illnesses

Occupational therapists work to help individuals improve everyday life skills so that they can better participate in home, school, work or wherever they may be. Many people know occupational therapists help children with disabilities or adults recovering from injury. BUT did you know that occupational therapists also help people living with mental illnesses?

Patient-Centered Care Helps Overcome Mental Illness and Tobacco Use

Dr. Zim Okoli is featured in the Lexington Herald-Leader and UKNOW discussing a central focus of his research on patients with mental illness and nicotine use. He highlights the need to have a patient-centered care approach. Read the full 2015 article, “Patient-Centered Care Helps Overcome Mental Illness and Tobacco Use."

Modifiable Risk Factors for People with Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders

Dr. Zim Okoli shares 5 modifiable risk factors for people living with mental health and substance use disorders: