A Winona State student takes time to to focus on mental wellness.

Guest Blog by Misty Schutterle, WSU Graduate Student in Clinical Mental Health and Addiction

Hi, my name is Misty, and I am currently a graduate student in WSU’s Clinical Mental Health and Addiction program. Like most staff and students, I experience anxiety, pressure, and stress, to varying degrees on a daily basis. There are days when stress overwhelms me, and I become paralyzed by anxiety and fear, which prevents me from accomplishing anything. I also have days where I feel confident in my ability to handle anything life throws at me and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead. I have always had anxiety, but after starting college, it skyrocketed. I realized I needed help, and fast. On my quest for assistance, I discovered WSU had many resources available to help me manage my symptoms. One resource led to another resource, which led to another resource, and so on. I spent two days processing and organizing all the information and thought to myself, the only thing missing was a summary of the services and providers.

This semester I was awarded a graduate assistant position, which provides me a platform where I can combine what I discovered on the WSU website, with the knowledge I gained from my programs, and share it with fellow Warriors and the world. I have a passion for mental health and wellness and hope that by writing a series of blogs, others will know that WSU and the communities you live in care and are ready to help you succeed in school and life.

I want to begin my first blog post by covering the basics on what mental health and wellness is, how to recognize mental unwellness, and where to find help and support.


What is Mental Health & Wellness?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “A state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” Mental health and well-being can be collectively understood as dynamic processes that emphasize one’s capacity to manage distress, build resilience, reduce suffering, acquire inner peace, and find meaning in life. Mental wellness indicates autonomy, self-acceptance, growth, environmental mastery, and positive relationships, all of which can be enhanced and strengthened through conscious action. Mental wellness is a self-generating renewable resource that allows one to feel better about themselves, think more clearly, as well as function more effectively.


How do I know when to seek help?

Recognizing signs and symptoms of mental health issues can be challenging. For many, symptoms develop slowly over time, causing minimal disruptions in their daily life. As a result, people have the tendency to misinterpret, down-play, or ignore subtle signs and symptoms. However, if left unaddressed, symptom severity is likely to increase, causing noticeable changes in your thought, feeling, and behavior patterns. So, how do you know when to seek help for mental health and wellness woes? According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are general signs that can help you recognize mental unwellness including the following:

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Substance misuse
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Unusual or “magical” thinking
  • Prolonged sadness, depression, or apathy
  • Excessive anger, hostility, or violent behavior
  • An inability to cope with problems or daily activities
  • Feeling disconnected or withdrawn from normal activities
  • Noticeable changes in personality, eating, or sleeping patterns
  • Thoughts or statements about self-harm, suicide, or harming others

One way to check for symptoms of mental health woes is to go online and take a self-assessment. You can use screening tools from Mental Health America (MHA), which are free, easy to understand, take less than 5 minutes to complete, and indicate symptom severity.

Take a confidential, mental health self-assessment from Mental Health America

Results from the self-assessment can be printed out and shared with your healthcare providers, family, or support system. Learning about mental health and wellness allows you to recognize warning signs in yourself and others more easily. Keep in mind that one or two symptoms alone does not mean you have a mental illness. However, if you or someone you know is experiencing several symptoms at once and have problems studying, working, or relating to others, they should be seen by a physician and a mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation. At WSU’s Counseling Services, students have access to several methods of assistance designed to delay or prevent mental illnesses from developing further, including culturally informed psychotherapy, medications, and support groups.

Connect with Counseling Services at Winona State University


Support for Students

Wellness is a complex construct because it encompasses many aspects of a person’s life, including mental, physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual health. Winona State University cares deeply about and is invested in the overall health and well-being of every student as evidenced by our state-of-the-art Integrated Wellness Complex (IWC). Here, you can work out, see a doctor or nurse for medical care, as well as receive top notch psychological services from highly skilled providers who genuinely care.

Visit the Winona State University Integrated Wellness Complex

WSU is dedicated to helping you stay mentally well by providing access to experienced therapists who can help with any personal or professional issues you may be experiencing. Common concerns include anxiety, depression, grief, relationship issues, trauma, as well as other mental health and wellness challenges. Students can talk to a licensed WSU counselor for free up to 6 times per semester. If you need more frequent care, a therapist can refer you to a provider in the community.

Connect with Winona State University Counseling Services for support or to schedule an appointment

Below are links to internal and external providers and resources in the Rochester and Winona areas that may be helpful on your journey to mental health and wellness.


WSU Internal Resources


Rochester Counseling Resources


Winona Counseling Resources


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2018, July 1). Warning signs of mental illness.          https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/warning-signs-of-mental-illness    
  • Galderisi, S., Heinz, A., Kastrup, M., Beezhold, J., & Sartorius, N. (2015). Toward a new definition of mental         health. World psychiatry: Official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA)14(2), 231–233.        https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20231
  • World Health Organization. (2019, April 7). Mental health. https:www.who.int/westernpacific/health-topics/mental- health