Student mental health workshop offers advice for creating habits


Andrew Ulstad

Healthy habits vs. unhealthy habits.

Alahnna, Connolly

Career Services hosted a workshop called “How to Create Healthy Habits for Success in College and Beyond” via Zoom on Jan. 12. Merrody Rennick, assistant director for CWU career services, spoke about ways students can get help for their mental health.

The 30-minute workshop focused on how to break bad habits and create healthy ones instead. It explained how a habit loop works, which is when you have a cue that leads into a built routine that leads to rewarding yourself for that action. It takes 66 days to form a good habit and keep it going, according to Rennick. 

According to, over 60% of college students during the 2020-2021 school year met criteria for one or more mental health problems, evidenced by the Healthy Minds Study which collected data from 373 campuses nationwide.

Rennick said this event was meant to build healthy habits for college students who may face these struggles.

“I think healthy habits are for the lifestyle, people just don’t know how to get started,” Rennick said. “I read a lot of books and studied the mind and how it works.”

Rennick has an undergrad in English, a master’s degree in education and a minor in counseling.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college, I didn’t go visit my career center and view my options,” Rennick said. “I know I wanted to work in counseling and help people.” 

Rennick said she felt that 30 minutes was enough time to see the effect it has on students. Rennick said her favorite part of the workshop was engaging with students and hearing their stories. 

“It feeds into motivation,” Rennick said. “I studied quite a bit of motivation and what motivates people and it’s amazing.” 

According to, between 2009-2015 college campus counseling clinics have seen a 40% rise in visits and this number kept rising until the start of the pandemic. 

CWU offers resources within their school’s facility for students to reach out if they are struggling financially, mentally or physically. 

These resources include the Student Medical and Counseling Clinic (SMaCC) on the Ellensburg campus, the WildcatCare365 service through the TImely Care app as well as the Wellness Center in SURC 256.

Resources like these can help students. According to The Mayo Clinic, 44% of university students have said they have experienced depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Rennick recommended two books to open students’ minds and help them better their sleeping and habits. The books are “Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and “Stolen Focus” by Johann Hari.

“Students can get more out of college, especially with the help of healthy habits,” Rennick says.