LV Life Editor
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Residential Life held a Mental Health Awareness Day so students could unwind and relax as finals approach.
Students could participate in different DIY activities like making slime and essential oils and creating galaxy jars. Students could also play with therapy dogs, paint and even have a tarot card reading.
Stephen Heggem, residence life coordinator, worked with two other RLCs to organize the event to help destigmatize mental health and teach others how to practice self-care.
He said that he has witnessed students with symptoms of mental illness while working in housing.
“We want to create a space where they [students] feel brave enough and safe enough to talk about that, to get information about that,” Heggem said. “If we are going to encourage a sense of belonging part of what helps us achieve that is having dialogues like this where people can feel like, ‘I can be myself. I can talk about this stuff. I’m normal.’”
Heggem said that while tarot cards are not specifically related to mental health like depression and anxiety, it can provide clarity when someone is feeling lost or directionless.
“What I find tarot cards, at least in my own experience and those I serve, is it gives language to what we are experiencing,” Heggem said. “Sometimes just giving that light to the scenario that you’re in, it helps you understand where to go. It’s not telling you what to do, but it gives you an idea of a direction.”
Kaley Varner, freshman criminology major, said she enjoyed connecting with the therapy dogs and having a tarot card reading.
“Having my tarot read was scary, brutally honest and it made me do a lot of thinking so I’m really excited about my future,” Varner said. “I’m not sure I believe in the cards because of my religion, but thinking about it, it relates to me so much.
Alejandra Gonzalez-Cruz, residence life coordinator, said that it is important to have a day to remind people of the importance of taking care of their own well-being.
“We are now in an age where we are more open about talking about mental health,” Gonzalez-Cruz said. “We work in housing, so we get to see a lot students under a lot of stress. This is their home for nine months, so if there’s any type of grief, we are the ones that see it.”
Tiffany De Leon, residential life coordinator, said that the event was not only to have fun, but to also provide students with information about mental health as well.
She said the graffiti wall provided information on stress, anxiety, eating disorders, depression and suicide.
The wall also included apps that help with self care and active hotlines students can call for help.
“We were hoping that students would see some practical data that would hopefully shed some light on some things that they are going through or their friends are going through,” De Leon said.
David Gonzalez can be reached at email@example.com.