Health & Well-being Resources

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Suicide Prevention 

If you have a life-threatening emergency, please immediately call the University Police Department by dialing 911 on a campus phone or 518-442-3131 on a cell phone. For guidance on how to respond to urgent mental health situations, visit our Emergencies page.

Ask a question. Make a connection. Save a life. 

People are most likely to open up about suicidal thoughts and feelings with someone they trust — and talking or asking about suicide won’t increase the risk. 

Signs of Student Distress & What to Do

These risk factors are often the first signs of stress and may be warning signs for suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you might benefit from talking with a mental health professional.  

  • Problems with academic performance and/or work 

  • Change in typical habits or behavior 

  • Inability to care for themselves 

  • Feelings of failure 

  • Persistent difficulties falling or staying asleep 

  • Intolerable anxiety, inability to stop thinking or severe agitation 

  • Repeated panic attacks 

  • Persistent sadness, irritability or emptiness 

  • Thinking, talking or writing about self-harm, suicide, death and/or dying 

  • Using alcohol and/or drugs to cope or feel better 

  • A recent crisis in or loss of a close personal relationship 

  • Feelings of being trapped, helpless or desperate 

  • Inability to look toward the future with some hope and optimism 

Suicidal crises can occur after a loss, such as the loss of a relationship or interest in important activities or goals. 

Students who are already struggling with depression or anxiety, alcohol and/or drug use, or issues with anger may be more likely to experience suicidal thoughts or feelings. 

If you’re concerned about a student, talk to them. Express concern for their well-being and be specific regarding the behavior that concerns you.  

Accept their feelings, don’t judge, and encourage them to get help. You may not understand what they are going through, but you can help them get through it. 

Ask if they would consider a visit or consultation with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). If they say yes, offer to call CAPS on their behalf (518-442-5800). (While some students prefer to make the call themselves, a distressed student may appreciate your assistance.) 

Students, parents, families, faculty, staff and other campus community members can also request a consultation with CAPS to discuss concerns about a student. 

When to Seek Immediate Assistance  

Safety is always the priority. Call 911 if any of the following situations: 

  • You or someone you know has caused serious self-harm, regardless of the stated intent (such as pill overdose, alcohol poisoning or serious cutting). 

  • You or someone you know has threatened suicide, either verbally or in writing, or has somehow made it known that they want or intend to harm themselves (such as via email away messages or by giving away prized belongings). 

  • You or someone you know is making plans or seeking the means for suicide (such as obtaining ropes, weapons or pills). 

You can also contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. 

Online Suicide Prevention Training

The UAlbany Save a Life Suicide Prevention Training Program is an online training that takes about 45 minutes to complete.  

Any campus community member can take this training at any time. 

During this training, you’ll learn how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and other mental health crises and how to help students get the help they need. 

The program was developed by UAlbany providers — thanks to a grant from the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Campus Suicide Prevention Program, which is distributed by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services. 

Student organizations and other groups on campus can also request in-person training.

Walk with Us: Out of the Darkness Campus Walk

Out of the Darkness Walk for Mental Health Advocacy and Suicide Prevention - UAlbany’s Out of the Darkness Campus Walk will be April 22nd with registration starting at 10am, and the walk program starting at 11am.  Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are welcome to walk in support of those impacted by suicide through family, friends, or personal struggles.  Register today at!  Individuals and teams are all welcome.

Alcohol & Drugs 

Frequent alcohol and/or drug use can impact your physical health, mental well-being and academic success, so it’s important to know where your alcohol and/or cannabis use stands.   

These screenings — which are free, confidential and anonymous — will help you identify any health implications related to your alcohol and/or drug use. Score interpretations and relevant resources are provided at the end of each screening. 

UAlbany offers free recovery resources, including counseling and weekly meetings, to all students through the Collegiate Recovery Program and CAPS’ STEPS Program

Safety Tips for Drinking Alcohol

Choosing even just a few ways to be safer when drinking alcohol can prevent negative consequences.

People are less likely to have negative experiences when they choose not to binge drink (defined as four or more drinks for individuals assigned female at birth, or five or more drinks for individuals assigned male at birth).

  • Use a ride share or designate a driver who will not consume any alcohol or other drugs

  • Stick with your friends 

  • Decline drinks from strangers and any drinks you didn’t see get made 

  • Never leave your drink unattended

  • Don't mix alcohol and other drugs, especially by avoiding punch

  • Skip shots and chugging

  • Pace to one drink per hour 

  • Alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks 

  • Stay out of drinking games or play with a non-alcoholic drink

  • Determine a safe number of drinks, track your drinking and stick to your plan

Know Your Serving Sizes

Knowing what a serving size looks like for your drink of choice helps you accurately count your drinks. These are the standard serving sizes of common drinks:

  • 12 fluid ounces for a regular beer and spiked seltzer (5% alcohol by volume, or ABV)

  • 8 to 9 fluid ounces for high alcohol content beer and malt beverages (7% ABV)

  • 1.5 fluid ounces of liquor

When to Get Help

When someone consumes alcohol, their blood alcohol content (BAC) will rise. The faster and more someone drinks, the higher their BAC. High BAC increases the risk for alcohol poisoning.

These are signs that someone is dangerously impaired: 

  • Damp or clammy skin 

  • Severe confusion 

  • Trouble staying awake 

  • Throwing up 

  • Seizures 

  • Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths a minute) 

  • Long pauses between breaths (10 seconds or more) 

  • Very slow heartbeat 

  • Low body temperature 

  • Blueish, grayish or pale skin 

  • Slow responses 

If you see these signs, do something. Stay with the person and call for help. Call the University Police Department by dialing 911 on a campus phone or 518-442-3131 on a cell phone.

Harm Reduction Strategies for Drug Use

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies for reducing the negative consequences associated with drug use. It’s also a social justice movement built on the belief in and respect for the rights of people who use drugs and alcohol. 

Harm reduction strategies for safer use and managed use meet people where they are currently — meaning each implementation is highly personalized to reflect specific individual and community needs. 

Here are some quick tips for reducing harm: 

  • Never use drugs alone. This can save your life in the event of an unintentional overdose. Use with others or visit to always have someone with you.

  • Always test your supply for the presence of fentanyl. Fentanyl is a lethal substance and can be tested for with fentanyl testing strips. 

  • Have naloxone available. Naloxone is a lifesaving overdose reversal medication. Complete an overdose prevention training and receive a free naloxone kit.  

  • Buy less so you use less. Buying large amounts of a drug may be cheaper, but you could end up using more than you want to simply because it’s there. 

  • Set a time limit before you start. If you choose to stop drinking at 10 p.m., watch the time, remind yourself of your time plan and stick to it. Have a nonalcoholic drink ready. 

  • Eat a meal before you start, and avoid snacking on salty foods, especially if you’re drinking. You may drink more out of thirst. 

  • Lower your dosage and frequency. In other words, drink, smoke or inject in smaller amounts — and less often — than you do now. When it comes to alcohol, this could mean choosing light beer or other low-alcohol drinks, or alternating alcoholic drinks with water, juice or soda. 

  • Choose the least harmful method of use. Injecting a drug carries more risk than smoking, snorting or swallowing it. (If you do inject drugs, avoid the neck area.) When it comes to cannabis, using a vaporizer or smoking a joint (with a rolled-up cardboard filter) is safer than using a bong and some pipes.

  • Plan out some drug-free days. The fewer days in a row you use a drug, the better. If you use the drug every day, try cutting back your use to every other day, and try not using it at all for two to three days. (Make sure you have in mind other ways to spend your time and energy, so you don’t end up sitting around and thinking about how you miss getting high.) 

  • Use at your own speed and don’t feel pressured by others to pick up the pace. 

  • Find someone caring and understanding to talk to when you’re struggling to stick to your reduced use plan. Consider reaching out the UAlbany's Collegiate Recovery Program.

  • Read self-help books that feature stories about people who have successfully cut down on or quit using a drug. 

  • Put condoms in your pocket before you start using a drug, even if you’re not planning to have sex. You might change your mind. 

Substance Misuse Warning Signs & Ways to Help

The following are warning signs of substance misuse: 

  • Regularly drinking or using other drugs more than intended 

  • Developing tolerance and needing larger amounts of alcohol or another drug to produce the desired results

  • Doing dangerous things while under the influence 

  • Becoming sick after drinking or using

  • Using substances as a form of coping with unpleasant feelings 

  • Legal, academic, professional and/or financial problems related to substance use 

  • Putting aside other priorities to instead drink or use drugs 

  • Concern from family or friends 

  • Isolating from friends and activities 

  • Drastic changes in weight 

  • Violent outbursts 

  • Excessive sleepiness 

Learn more about drugs, drug checking and additional harm reduction strategies.

Talk to a friend about their substance use.

Find a treatment facility.

Learn about recovery and recovery support.

Managing Stress & Overwhelm 

College can be a stressful time for students, as they adjust to a new lifestyle, juggle various responsibilities and prepare for their future. Feeling overwhelmed is normal, but it shouldn't be the norm. Use these tips to de-stress. 

Take a mental health screening.

Tips for Better Sleep
General Tips  
  • Wake up at the same time every morning. This helps your body get into a rhythm. 

  • If it’s evening, go to bed when you are sleepy, rather than trying to go to bed earlier or stay up later. 

  • Do something relaxing for about an hour before you intend to fall asleep. 

  • Avoid alcohol and other substances as a sleep aid. 

  • Treat any medical or psychological concerns that might be interfering with sleep, like sleep apnea, anxiety and depression. 

  • To keep your sleep consistent, limit naps to 20 minutes and nap earlier in the day. 

  • Stop using electronic devices 30 minutes before sleep.

Can’t Fall Asleep?   
  • Make sure your sleep environment is cool, dark, quiet and comfortable. 

  • Slow your breathing. Starting with 100, count down every time you exhale. 

  • Each time you exhale, think about how your body is sinking into the bed. This helps you relax your muscles and feel more peaceful.  

  • Go to bed when you’re sleepy. If you are not sleepy, get up and do something relaxing until you are sleepy. 

Can’t Stay Asleep?  
  • If you're waking up hungry, eat a light healthy snack before bed. 

  • If you’re waking up to use the bathroom, limit liquids before bed. 

50 Ways Great Danes De-stress

A big part of effective stress management is knowing what works for you when you are feeling stress.  Here are some suggestions for you to explore to both manage and prevent stress. 

  1. Go for a jog around campus or your neighborhood. 

  2. Take a group exercise class

  3. Sing in the shower. 

  4. Play an instrument.  

  5. Explore the UAlbany Art Museum

  6. Play a video game or board game with your friends or family. 

  7. Reorganize your room. 

  8. Take a virtual cooking class. 

  9. Cheer on the Great Danes at a home game

  10. Enjoy a hot cup of herbal tea. 

  11. Clean out your desk or backpack.  

  12. Call or text a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them. 

  13. Go for a bike ride around campus or your neighborhood. 

  14. Take a nap. 

  15. Eat a balanced meal or healthy snack. 

  16. If you feel like crying, let it out. 

  17. Explore student organizations

  18. Color with crayons. 

  19. Pray or engage in spiritual practice. 

  20. Put on your favorite music and dance to the beat. 

  21. Make a to-do list for the week. 

  22. Find a quiet study spot. 

  23. Take an online drawing class. 

  24. Volunteer.

  25. Watch a new movie. 

  26. Find a peaceful spot to read outside. 

  27. Put a puzzle together. 

  28. Meditate. 

  29. Attend a show at the Performing Arts Center

  30. Look through old photos or old texts from friends. 

  31. Watch your favorite cartoon or sitcom from your childhood. 

  32. Make a late-night snack. 

  33. Take five deep, slow breaths. 

  34. Stretch for 10 minutes. 

  35. Read a good book. 

  36. Go for a hike. 

  37. Go to the fitness center

  38. Plan a study break with a friend. 

  39. Delete the apps you don’t use off your phone. 

  40. Sit outside for a few minutes. 

  41. Take a hot shower or bubble bath. 

  42. Do a random act of kindness. 

  43. Find an event on UAlbany GO.  

  44. Watch a movie or TV show with friends. 

  45. Give or get a hug. 

  46. Unplug and take a break from your phone and the internet. 

  47. Check out San Diego Zoo's live camera feeds.  

  48. Take a walk around the Pond, your yard or your neighborhood. 

  49. Listen to your favorite audiobook or podcast. 

  50. Reach out for help: Make a CAPS appointment or call the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Hotline.

10 Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health
  1. Value yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and respect and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects. Or broaden your horizons with something new. You deserve to take care of yourself. 

  2. Take care of your body. Taking care of yourself physically can enhance mental health, reduce stress, and improve your mood. Eat nutritious meals, stay hydrated, exercise and get enough sleep. 

  3. Surround yourself with good people. Make plans with supportive family members and friends. Or seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as student organizations, campus events and support groups

  4. Give back. Volunteer your time and energy to help someone in need. (It’s also a great way to meet new people!) 

  5. Learn how to deal with stress. Like it or not, stress is part of life. Learn and practice healthy coping skills, such as exercising, taking a nature walk, listening to music, taking a break and journaling

  6. Quiet your mind. Try meditating, mindful activities or reaching out spiritually through prayer. These activities can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy. 

  7. Set realistic goals. Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, then write down the steps you need to take to realize your goals. Aim high but be realistic and don’t over schedule yourself. You’ll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goals. 

  8. Break up the monotony. Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road trip, walk a new path, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant. 

  9. Avoid alcohol and other drugs. Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate” but alcohol and other drugs can actually prolong and/or aggravate problems. Campus recovery resources are available. 

  10. Get help when you need it. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. And treatment is effective. Make an appointment with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS).

Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice 

We see you. We hear you. We support you. 

UAlbany’s health and well-being team is committed to the needs of our vibrantly diverse campus community and strives to provide culturally responsive services. 

Our offices are spaces where all individuals can feel safe, accepted, appreciated, empowered, seen and heard. As professionals, we are working to address issues of diversity and inclusion in our clinical work, training, campus outreach, hiring and staff development. 

We join in solidarity with our students who experience marginalization, and we unequivocally condemn acts of violence, hatred and racism. We also acknowledge the various structural and institutionalized systems that have created inequitable distribution of power, privilege and resources in our society.

If you need a space to process feelings and reactions, please make an appointment with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS).

  • You may request to meet with a specific staff member, if you would like. Meet the CAPS staff. 

  • CAPS also offers several different empowerment and support groups.  

We also encourage students to explore resources available through our campus partners: