SHAC & Active Minds Raising Awareness for the Importance of Mental Health
Struggling with mental health and feeling overwhelmed is a common struggle college students face. The Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) and Active Minds are two groups on campus that recognize and try to combat this issue. The groups recently hosted Don’t Ghost Your Mental Health, an event for students to destress and take a break from school.
“We wanted the UNI campus and student body to really understand the importance of taking a break from school and involving yourself in some type of activity that gets your mind off of schoolwork or other daily stresses in your life to keep that harmony in the school life balance,” said Kayla Kellogg, SHAC President.
The event, hosted from 7-8 p.m. on Oct. 20, had all kinds of crafts for students to stop in and try. Coloring sheets and rainbow scratch paper were the fan favorites according to Kellogg. While they had originally planned to have cookies to decorate, they instead hosted a raffle for $10 target gift cards.
“We chose those activities because it’s a simple, destressing thing to do,” said Kellogg. “It could take five to ten minutes just to give you a little break from your daily life.” The event had a great turnout with almost 80 people showing up to destress and do crafts.
Kellogg’s personal favorite part of the night was the post it note wall. “It was meant to leave something positive and take what you need,” she said. Students were able to write a positive note and leave it on the whiteboard for others to see and take. “If it inspired them people took it off the whiteboard to keep for future reference,” said Kellogg.
It’s important for students to take time to focus on their mental health. Students can fall behind not only in their schoolwork, but in their daily tasks as well when they don’t meet their mental health needs.
Everyone’s different and has different things that help their mental health. “You just have to find what works for you in destressing,” said Kellogg. “It really could just be taking a five minute walk, listening to music, or doing these little crafts. Just getting your mind away from anything that causes you stress.”
SHAC is focused on all dimensions of wellbeing while Active Minds is dedicated to helping students who are facing mental health issues as well as destigmatizing the topic so it is easier for people to reach out for help. “There’s a bunch of services on campus that can help you,” said Kellogg.
While UNI does offer counseling sessions, students are only provided five free sessions before being charged for appointments. The amount of free appointments may not be realistic for everyone, but it is available for those in need. Students can schedule an initial assessment at 319-273-2676.
Another service offered by UNI is Wellness Coaching. This is free for all students, covered by the mandatory health fee. Wellness coaching focuses on the eight dimensions of wellness. Students can sign up for this service on the UNI Wellness Coaching website.
Taking time for your mental health, during good times and bad, is important for your overall health and achieving your full potential. Remember it can be as simple as taking a quick walk or doing Halloween coloring sheets. While SHAC doesn’t have any more events planned for the fall semester, make sure to stay updated with the Active Minds social media pages to see what they have in store for the rest of the year.