- Body Image
- Financial Health
- Healthy Relationships
- Mental Health
- Sexual Health
Here at Project Health, we get it: some college students are going to drink. However, we want you to drink safely! There are many ways to make sure that you stay safe if you choose to drink. Remembering to make a plan before you go out, always using a sober driver, and knowing your limit are common rituals when drinking, but there are so many more ways to make sure that you and your friends stay safe.
Remember, not all drinks are created equal! Depending on the type of drink the size of one standard drink varies. Different beverages have different compositions of alcohol. Since the amount of alcohol that is in each standard drink remains the same, the more concentrated the alcohol content is in a beverage the smaller the drink size. So, for example, 12 oz of beer is considered one standard drink while 1.5 oz of liquor is one standard drink.
Make the Call!
The University of Alabama has a Medical Amnesty Policy in place. That means, if you call for another person who needs medical attention who is under the influence of alcohol, you and that student will not get in trouble.
It is an expectation for Alabama students that you call for another person if they need help. To call for help, call UAPD at 205-348-5454.
Remember Your BAC (and what that even is)!
BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content, is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your body. The type of alcohol you drink does not affect your BAC level, but instead is the amount you consume. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, your vision and attention become impaired above a BAC of .02. In addition, if you’re underage, you can be arrested for driving with a BAC of .02, but if you’re overage, the illegal BAC level when operating a vehicle is .08.
BAC affects everyone differently. Some of the factors that affect your Blood Alcohol Content are:
Consumption rate (how fast you drink the alcohol)
Food in stomach
Pro Tip: Use Protective Behaviors
A protective behavior is something that you do to actively stay safe when drinking alcohol. It is important to use protective behaviors before, during, and after drinking. Here are some tips to make sure you stay safe:
Eat lean protein (it stays in your stomach longer)
Make a plan to get home
Set a predetermined drinking limit and spending limit
Count your [standard] drinks!
Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
Stay with your friends
Keep your drink with you at all times
Use a sober driver who has had nothing to drink
Eat a snack before you go to sleep
Safe Ride Numbers
University of Alabama
Service Hours: Mon – Fri 6 PM to 6:50AM. Sat – Sun 24hours.
Crimson Ride Downtown Express
Thursday-Saturday 9pm-2am, running until 3am on Friday night/Saturday mornings!
Sterling Limo Cab
Yellow Cab of Tuscaloosa
(Remember to never take a cab alone, and always let another person know when you will be home/when they should expect a call that you have arrived home safely!)
Be Aware of Alcohol Poisoning
Alcohol poisoning occurs after drinking too much too quickly. Anyone suspected of having alcohol poisoning needs immediate help. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
Slow or irregular breathing
Pale or blue skin
It is important to remember that you should never leave an unconscious person alone, and seeking help could save a life.
What is Body Image?
According to nationaleatingdisorders.org, body image is how you see yourself in the mirror or what you see when you take a mental picture of yourself. This encompasses:
What you believe about your own appearance including memories, assumptions, and generalizations.
How you feel about your body, including weight, height, and shape.
How you sense and control your body; not just how you perceive yourself but how you feel in your body.
Having a negative body image can mean having a distorted perception of your shape—perceiving body parts unlike how they really are. It can also mean you are convinced only other people are attractive and your body is a sign of personal failure. You also feel ashamed, self-conscious and anxious about your body. A negative self-image also can make a person feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body. These can be the extremes and any form of this can be a negative body image. Positive body image is having a clear, true perception of your shape and see your body parts as they really are. You feel proud, confident, and comfortable in your body. You also have an acceptance of your unique body and understand that physical appearance is not everything.
What is Fat Talk?
According to BodyImage3D, the founders of Fat Talk Free Week, fat talk is defined as:
“any statement that reinforces the thin-ideal standard of beauty and contributes to women and men’s dissatisfaction with their bodies. Examples include:
“I’m so fat.”
“Do I look fat in this?”
“She should not be wearing that!”
“Does this make my butt look big?”
“I need to lose 10 pounds before I wear that.”
Tips for a Better Body Image!
Having a positive body image doesn’t happen over night. It takes active, conscious work, but it is possible for everyone! Some tips to work towards having a more positive body image are:
- Surround yourself with positive people
- List traits about yourself that you like
- Wear clothes that make you feel attractive
- Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying your image to do something to help others
If you would like to talk to someone about body image, there are resources available for you!
Student Health Center Dietitian
$20 per session, call 348-2778
Student Health Center Psychiatry Services
Make an appointment by calling 348-2778
The Counseling Center
Free consultation, $15 session, call (205) 348-3863
Your Brain on Drugs
If I just try it once it’s no big deal, right? Wrong! Drugs impact your brain, which is the center of all of your body’s activity. Drugs are chemicals that affects how your brain communicates, and how the neurons in your brain send and receive information. Some drugs, such as heroin and marijuana, have similar chemical structures to neurotransmitters in your brain and can mimic these transmitters. These pseudo-transmitters light up your reward system (limbic system) making the brain say “I want to do that again so I feel good again.” That’s where addiction comes into play.
Alternatives to Prescription Drug Abuse
Avoid unnecessary stress! Say “no” to the things you cannot handle, and work towards prioritizing by taking a time management class or using a planner.
Get physical! Exercise releases positive endorphins, so you will be feeling less stressed in no time! Start the day out with a 30-minute workout to ease stress.
Study smart! If you have a big test, take breaks. Study for 45 minutes, and break for 15 minutes to improve. Study the hard stuff first, and the easy stuff last! Additionally, get rid of distractions, such as your phone or Facebook, to be as effective as possible.
Cool it on the coffee. Avoid caffeine within 5 hours of bed time and you’ll get to sleep much easier.
Unplug! Overstimulation can make it hard to sleep, and the light from the phone keeps you awake as well. Turn it off at least an hour before bed to sleep soundly!
Sharing is Dealing!
Not only is sharing prescription drugs illegal, but it’s dangerous for you and the user! If you are prescribed a prescription drug, do not share it or sell it to any of your friends. Here is how it can impact you and your friend, now and in the future:
Your Friend: Your friend wants to buy an Adderall off of you for a test so they can “focus”. But do you know your friend’s history of substance use or if they have a family history of substance use? Additionally, do you know exactly how the drug is going to affect your friend’s body? Are they allergic to any of the components of it, or do they know if they are? Is your friend really just going to study, or are they going to go out and drink? Do they know the dangers of mixing alcohol and prescription pills? What if this “one time” turns into another time, and another time?
Additionally, you can’t forget the legal consequences. If your friend is caught using or holding a prescription that isn’t prescribed to them, that is a felony, which could result in fines, probation, and/or jail time.
You: Sharing or selling drugs is the same as dealing, and will be treated as a felony. If you are caught selling or sharing, this could result in hefty fines, probation time, and/or jail time. Additionally, once you are a registered felon, you are no longer allowed to exercise the right to vote, and it goes on your record forever. Additionally, what if something happens to your friend? What if they have a bad reaction to the drug? Is it worth it? The answer is no.
Did you know that a one hour workout is only 4% of your day?
It is important to stay regularly physically active, but that doesn’t mean you have to jump head first into pumping iron. It is important to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory (cardio) exercise per week. Moderate-intensity exercises include activities like brisk walking, yoga, or golf. Another option is doing 20-60 minutes, three times a week of vigorous-intensity exercise. Some examples of vigorous intensity would be jogging, playing basketball, and fast bicycling.
Where Can I Exercise?
The Rec: Your rec membership is included in your tuition, and you can go as many times as you want!
The Quad: Get a game of soccer going or even practice yoga. So much room for activities!
The Riverwalk: The Riverwalk has great trails to run, walk, or bike on.
Your House/Res Hall/Apt: There are so many at home work outs that you can do in the comfort of your own home! You can find sample workout plans online or on Youtube.
The Rec has some great video supplements!
Get Your Workout On!
What is cardio?
Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise, and it consists of anything that increases heart rate and blood circulation through the body for an extended period of time. There are many ways to do it, from jogging to swimming, and biking to jump-roping. Cardio can be done in seven main ways: low intensity and high duration (over 40 minutes), medium intensity and medium duration, high intensity and short duration (5-20 minutes),aerobic interval training (i.e. 3 x 5 minutes hard then 5 minutes easy), anaerobic interval training (i.e. 15 x sprint 30 seconds then walk 30 seconds), fartlek training (i.e. run 10 minutes, then walk 3 minutes, then sprint 30 seconds, then jog for 5 minutes…), and circuit training, which is aerobic weight training and low weights so that you can continuously move between movements. With so much variety to choose from, there should be no problem including cardio into your fitness routine!
What is Financial Health?
Financial health is defined as the state of one’s personal financial situation in regards to how much money you have now, how much you have saved, and the financial practices you engage in.
With so much emphasis placed on physical health and well-being (which is GREAT!), sometimes your financial health can slip under the radar. It is important to start engaging in good financial health practices early! That way, when you graduate from college, you aren’t overwhelmed with the burden of stressful finances. Making bad financial decisions now can impact you for years to come, so it’s important to save and spend smart now!
Make a Budget!
Writing out a monthly budget is one of the easiest ways a college student can avoid financial turmoil. Some things to remember when creating a budget include: making a list of all of your monthly income and debts, figure out how much (if any) extra money you have to spend and brainstorm ways you can use extra funds to make yourself more money down the line (i.e. investments). Use our budget worksheet here!
Students can take the Transit Financial Literacy Program to learn more about smart financial practices, and financial information you need to know in college and in the future. Log into your myBama account and the Transit tab is on the homepage.
The UA Financial Aid office is located at 106 Student Services Center. They have advisors that you can meet with and are open 8:00a.m.-4:45p.m. Monday through Friday. They can answer questions about grants, loans, work-study, and student employment.
Stay Financially Saavy
These tips can help you easily make financially smart decisions!
Avoid reckless swiping: Keep track of how much money is in your bank account. Swiping and hoping the “approved” sign comes up won’t always work in your favor.
Start an emergency fund: Financial expert David Ramsey suggests having an emergency account of about $1000. Start building that now in case anything happens.
Pay MORE than the minimum balance: If you have a balance on your credit card, pay more than the minimum balance. The best thing to do is to pay the balance in full each month. If you can’t do that, make sure to have a payment plan to get the debt paid off.
Your Credit Score MATTERS
Having a good credit score can impact your job, insurance rates, loans, interest rates, and more. Bad credit can make it more difficult for you to get approved for loans and can take years to build back up. The following chart shows how much different aspects of finances affect your credit score, so it’s important to make good financial choices!
What is a Healthy Relationship?
According to LoveIsRespect.org, there are many components that encompass a healthy relationship:
Communication: Communication is a key part to having a healthy relationship. If something is bothering you, speak up versus holding it in.
Respect: In a healthy relationship, you respect your partner and their beliefs and values. Mutual respect is essential in having a healthy relationship.
Compromise: Disagreements happen, but it is important to engage in compromise. Healthy relationships make sure to settle disagreements in a fair and understanding way for both parties.
Be supportive: In healthy relationships, it is important to build your partner up, not tear them down.
Respect each other’s privacy: It is healthy to have boundaries within a relationship. Healthy relationships require space.
What Isn’t a Healthy Relationship?
Control: Unhealthy relationships are based on power and control, instead of respect and compromise.
Abusive: Your relationship is definitely unhealthy if your partner is abusive in any way. Relationship abuse isn’t just physical. It can be verbal (ex: insults), digital (ex: requiring your Facebook passwords), financial (ex: controlling your money or access to money), and sexual (ex. unwanted sexual activity).
There are several keys to create a healthy relationship with your roommate!
Patience: This can prevent a lot of conflicts that could come up between you and your roommate! Try to put yourself in their shoes to better understand the situation. Being patient isn’t always easy, but the more you practice being patient with your roommate the easier it will become!
Communication: Being able to openly communicate with your roommate(s) is a crucial part of getting along and establishing a healthy relationship. At the beginning of the year, sit down with them and establish some ground rules you can both agree on. This will help prevent problems that might pop up during the year. Also decide that if a problem does happen, that you will both sit down and talk in person to resolve the issue.
Open-minded: Being open minded is very important in keeping a healthy roommate relationship. They might be used to doing things differently than you, but be patient and find a middle ground where you and your roommate can agree.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is defined as a person’s condition in relation to their psychological and emotional well-being. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health! According to the WHO, being mentally healthy is characterized as being able to recognize your own potential, able to cope with the normal stresses of life, and able to work productively. However, the CDC notes that only 17% of adults are considered to be in an optimal state of mental health. There are always ways to improve your mental health and it’s important to do so regularly.
What is Stigmatizing Language?
A stigma is anything that is characterized or branded as negative or disgraceful. Therefore, stigmatizing language is something that perpetuates stigma. Mental health is an area of health that is consistently stigmatized, and can be divided into two types: social stigma (behaviors directed towards individuals because of the label they have been given) and self-stigma (internalizing of the person suffering from mental health of their perceptions of discrimination).
Why is this important?
Using language that associates mental health disorders with a negative connotation further distances individuals with mental health problems from social support. Stigmatizing language minimizes what people are suffering from. It is important to recognize this among your own language and the language of your peers to stop the stigma on mental health.
Engaging in Self-Care
Sometimes it is necessary to take care of yourself first. With all the things we do for other people, sometimes we lose ourselves in the shuffle! Self-care is an individual act that a person does to increase their own personal well-being. Self-care is different for everyone, and there isn’t one specific way to engage in self care. For one person, self-care may be having a Netflix marathon, but for another it may be getting a massage. However, it is important to engage in self-care regularly.
Confidence Boost Playlist
Helping Someone Who is Considering Suicide
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, so it is important to know what to do in the case that it may affect you. According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, there are several warning signs that you can look for in your friend.
Talking about wanting to die or kill themselves
Talking about feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live
Withdrawing or isolating self
Erratic behavior, showing rage, acting anxious or agitated
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
If someone you know does display these signs, it is important to be direct. Talk openly about suicide, and be willing to listen. Don’t make assumptions or be judgmental, or debate whether suicide is right or wrong. Get involved and become available, and also seek out support together. Encourage your friend to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Remember, be supportive and understanding, and make the priority getting your friend the help they need.
Mental Health Resources
If you need to talk, there is help available! We care about you and want to help in any way we can.
UA Counseling Center
Initial session is free, and you get fifteen $15 per year!
UA Psychology Clinic
Student Health Center Psychiatry Services
Student Health Center Substance Abuse Services
With all the nutrition information that’s out there, how do you know if the information that you’re getting is credible? The best way is to ask a credible source! The Student Health Center has a dietitian that you can see for only $20 a session (FYI: that is REALLY inexpensive!). Dietitians are experts in the nutrition field, and go through the most advanced training to help you with your nutrition needs! If you’re wondering if a person giving nutrition advice is legitimate, look for the “RD” credential!
If you need information on the go, here are some other great sources of nutrition information:
1/2 Tbsp of olive oil
3 Tbsp of marinara or pizza sauce
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp black olives
1/2 roma tomato
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Vegetables of your choice (optional)
Brush pita with olive oil and spread the sauce evenly. Sprinkle cheese on top and cover with your choice of vegetables. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
What Can I Do to Be Healthier?
Whatever your weight, you can take steps to improve or maintain your health. The key is healthy eating and being physically active. If you want to make changes, it’s very important to choose steps that work for you!
Eat fruits, veggies, and whole grains every day! These foods can help you manage your weight, and prevent cancer and heart disease.
Eat less saturated and trans fat to keep your arteries and heart stronger. This includes high-fat meats and dairy products, stick margarine and processed foods.
Don’t skip meals. Regular eating helps you control hunger and use food more effectively.
Plan healthy meals. Planning meals can help save time and money.
Find ways to be active everyday!
Plan regular physical activity on most days of the week.
Take a few moments daily to stretch.
Do exercises to build strength.
Choose activities that are fun and feel good.
What is Sexual Health?
The World Health Organization defines sexual health as “a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.” Taking care of your sexual health is extremely important.
Sexual health is characterized by many different components including, but not limited to, sexuality, sexual history with your partner, sexual violence, contraceptives and barrier methods, sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs/STIs), and the physical aspect of taking care of your reproductive system. It’s important to visit with your primary physician regularly to maintain good sexual health.
Contraceptives and Barrier Methods
The best way to reduce the risk of pregnancy among those who are sexually active is using contraceptives and barrier methods. It’s always best to use two forms of protection when engaging in sexual activities. This should be a discussion between you and your partner. There are many different options of protection to use, but always use at least one!
Male Condom (External): This is worn on the penis to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. Although most commonly made of latex, external condoms are made in many different materials for those who are allergic. External condoms help prevent STDs, HIV and pregnancy.
Female Condom (Internal): Worn inside the vagina to prevent the entrance of sperm, and can be inserted up to 8 hours in advance. Internal condoms help protect against pregnancy and STDs.
Diaphragm: Shaped like a shallow cup, this barrier method is placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix to block sperm. Diaphragms are inserted with spermicide before intercourse.
Sexual Health Resources
UA Title IX Office
Charlotte Petonic, M.Ed, CHES
Women and Gender Resource Center
Tuscaloosa Department of Public Health
National STD Hotline
Know Your Title IX
It is important to note that although hormonal methods do prevent unintended pregnancy, they do not protect against the transmission of STDs or HIV. It is important to use an additional form of contraception for to protect against STDs and HIV.
Oral Contraceptives: Also known as “the pill”, this form of birth control contains estrogen and progestin. The pill is prescribed by a doctor and must be taken at the same time each day.
The Patch: The patch is prescribed by a doctor, and is worn on the lower abdomen, rear, or upper body. A female replaces the patch once a week for three weeks, and then her menstrual cycle occurs the fourth week.
Vaginal Ring: The ring releases progestin and estrogen. The ring is inserted for three weeks, taken out for a week during the menstrual cycle, and then replaced by a new ring.
Implant: A single, thin rod that is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm that contains progestin. The rod is effective for three years, and the implant has a failure rate of only .05%.
Injection or “shot”: This is an injection of progestin that occurs every three months.
Emergency contraception: Also known as “Plan B”, this should not be a form of regular birth control. This is used in the case of birth control failure, or no use of birth control. Emergency contraception can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but the sooner, the better.
Alabama law says that bikes are held to the same laws and responsibilities as cars. So in case you didn’t know – YES, you can get a ticket on a bike! You can even get a DUI for biking under the influence. As a vehicle, you must obey all traffic signals and signs, just as you were if you were driving. Just as you would with a car, it is also necessary to keep up with bike maintenance to keep it safe and efficient. Check your tires and brakes regularly.
Bike Safety Tips
Wear a helmet! It’s not the coolest look, but neither is a cracked skull.
Use your signals and obey the traffic signals! It might be possible to run that red light, but it’s much safer for you and vehicles to obey the signals.
Use lights at night. It can be difficult to see bikers at night, so make sure you wear a headlight, rear light, and reflectors.
Register your bike on campus! Students are required to register their bike through UA. It’s always important to lock your bike when you’re not using it, but in the case something happens, UA will be able to locate you!
This app offers students a way to connect with UAPD and also with additional “guardians”. The app has a feature that allows students to have family and friends “watch over them” by sharing times and information about their location when they may not have access to their cell phones. Additionally, the app features a timer that begins when a student leaves a location, and they turn off when they arrive. If the timer isn’t turned off, UAPD is contacted. The app is also tied to Smart911, which allows participating 911 centers to see emergency information you share with them. Download the app on myBama or on the app store!
The University of Alabama is a great place to live! But like any campus or any city, it’s important to take safety precautions to make sure that you stay safe. here are a few tips that you should make sure to practice regularly to ensure that you stay as safe as possible! If you ever feel unsafe, or need help, make sure to call UAPD at (205) 348-5454.
Lock your doors to your apartment, residence hall, or home. It may seem simple, but it happens less than you think! Make sure to lock your door before you set down your keys so you don’t forget.
Don’t post extended absences online. This includes checking in places when you go out. It not only lets people know where you are, it lets people know where you’re not.
Always walk at night with a friend. Don’t let your friends walk home at night alone, and don’t walk alone yourself! Make sure that each person has a “buddy” that they’ll leave with at the end of the night if the group happens to split up.
Don’t text and drive/walk. Make sure you keep your eyes on the road, or your eyes on the sidewalk! Be aware of your surroundings.
Be proactive about safety. Don’t be afraid to ask your residence hall adviser or campus staff if you have safety questions. Make sure that you engage yourself in safety resources, and encourage your peers to do the same.