Support groups help students build friendships, share struggles

Silhouette of a personʻs profile looking over a wooden fence in front of a sunrise or sunset.

University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu students are welcome to take part in new online groups geared toward offering mental health support during such uncertain times.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact in our state and around the world, said Dr. Steven Taketa, clinical psychologist at UH West Oʻahu.

“During this time, many of our students and their families have had to overcome financial issues, unemployment, changes in scheduling, and a range of other difficult circumstances,” Taketa said. “The Mental Health Clinic at UH West Oʻahu and Leeweard Community College have adjusted to these difficulties and at the request of our valued students, are now offering campus support groups.”

The following support groups, which meet weekly online via Zoom, are available:

  • Women’s Group: 10:30 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.
  • International Women’s Group: 10:30 a.m. to noon Wednesdays. This group is for women who are international students or for women who speak English as a second language (ESL). “A native Japanese graduate student from Hawaiʻi Tokai International College will be facilitating these groups with our help and we are inviting international and ESL students from Tokai, Leeward Community College, UH West Oʻahu, and Kapiʻolani Community College to attend,” Taketa noted.
  • Open Group: 10:30 a.m. to noon Fridays. This group is for both men and women who are interested in getting support.

Group participants will have the opportunity to meet new people, build friendships, and collaborate with other students on common successes and struggles – in a setting that is confidential, comfortable, and safe.

“With the support of a mental health professional, these groups are led for and by students at our university,” he said. “Whatever your age, cultural background, or academic goals, you are likely to find a safe and helpful environment to maximize your health and success.”

If you would like to take part in a support group, email and someone will assist in finding the right group for you.

“Join a support group today and get connected, get involved, and get the most out of your education,” Taketa said.

Image courtesy of Leah Kelley/Pexels