UWS Athletics Discuss Importance of Taking Care of Mental Health During Pandemic
The Pruitt Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being works with student-athletes year-round, but with the coronavirus pandemic, their work becomes even more important.
SUPERIOR, Wis. – Now more than ever, taking care of both your physical and mental health is extremely important, something the staff at Wisconsin-Superior is trying to emphasize to their student-athletes.
“It shows that we care about our student athletes, their mental well being. We really do care,” Interim Director for Health, Counseling and Well-Being Randy Barker said.
In 2018, the Pruitt Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being opened on the UWS campus, working to help student-athletes work on their mental health.
“Once they get on campus, I’m able to get into each of those orientation sessions and meet with every student-athlete telling them about the services we provide both in student health and counseling services, along with the Pruitt Center,” Barker said.
The center works with students year-round, but with the coronavirus pandemic, their work becomes even more important.
“Being able to compete, being able to practice is a big part of our identity as student-athletes, as an athletics department, as coaches and we’ve kind of had that ripped from us and that’s part of our identity that’s gone missing a little bit,” Director of Athletics Nick Bursik said.
“These are difficult and uncertain times and we know that during this time, people are going to be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and grief and depression. We also promote positive mental health,” Barker added.
While campus is closed, the Pruitt Center workers are still doing what they can to be there for their student-athletes.
“We’ve just rolled out tele-counseling now. We’ve been offering daily mindfulness sessions that students can Zoom in and practice that. We’ve also been offering live yoga zoom sessions with yoga instructors. It’s still important to notice and be aware of just some of the highlights that still take place in our day,” Barker said.
As everyone continues to adapt to the changes the pandemic has caused, the staff at UWS will continue to help, so their student-athletes feel physically and mentally ready to go.
“Those teams will never be those teams again, those families will never be those families again and we’ll never go through that journey again. We know one day we’ll get the opportunity to come together and celebrate,” Bursik said.