After nine years at UC Davis Counseling and Psychological Services, Dr. Paul Ratanasiripong is well qualified to head UC Merced’s Counseling Services department. Dr. Paul, as he is known, joined the staff in July, hoping to help make life a little easier for the campus community.
“It’s wonderful to be able to help shape the department and really focus on the needs of the students, staff and faculty, as well as to promote positive mental health and well-being at UC Merced,” he says.
His goal this year is to help students adjust to UC Merced and cope with issues like relationships, stress and depression, so they can be successful academically, professionally and personally.
“First generation students may have additional stressors,” he warns. “Their families may not understand the difficulties of being a UC student—resulting in their not being supportive enough of the student’s academic pursuits.” Dr. Paul is contributing a column to the upcoming Parent Newsletter that will provide family members information on how to help their students succeed.
He urges students who find themselves overwhelmed with juggling classes, finances or other life changes to seek help early. Registered students can receive free short-term individual and group counseling.
How do you know if you need help from a counselor like Dr. Paul? Here are some warning signs:
- Depressed or anxious feelings
- Difficulties concentrating
- Difficulties sleeping
- Frequent conflicts with family or friends
- Sad much of the time
- Difficulties adjusting
Students are invited to stop by the Counseling Services office in Room 113 in the Gold Wing of the Kolligian Library, or call (209) 724-4266 to schedule an appointment. After hours and weekends, students can call the National Crisis Line at (800) 784-2433 if they need assistance.
When Dr. Paul isn’t helping others on campus, he is skiing, traveling or enjoying the outdoors with his wife. He says he can’t take care of others if he doesn’t take care of himself. Having his calm, prepared listening ear will make all the difference for anyone who needs a little extra help adjusting to campus life.