By Holly Feola & Casey DiBari – Opinion Editor & 1851 Contributor
The Office of Health Education tries to engage students to think about their mental health and encourage wellness. Juggling everyday stressors while trying to be productive and hold a social life can be considered as balancing mental health and wellness.
In an article published by American Public Media in August of 2021, a 2020 survey found that 40% of college students deal with depression, one in three deal with anxiety, and one in seven have had suicidal thoughts in the past. A question to ask is, how can students work on their mental health, and how can college campuses support them?
According to Adela Hruby, Peer Health Advisor, health educator, and clinical counselor, a way for students to help decrease stressors is to stay focused on the now. “Generally, the number one thing is to have a pretty clear or reasonable idea of what is in your control and what is not.” Hruby said, “We all can experience feelings of despair or anxiety or stress over things we have no control over.”
Hruby oversees the Office of Health Education which produces informative health and well-being campaigns on campus. One campaign led by the Office of Health Education was a “Normalize” series, where flyers were put up around campus to help reduce stigma and start a conversation around disorders such as depression, OCD, anxiety, ADHD, and Bipolar disorder.
On February 14, the Office of Health Education ran a tabling event to help promote self-acceptance and self-appreciation. Activities were available for students to appreciate themselves in ways they may not normally think of.
Students were given the opportunity to reflect on what they love, appreciate or accept about themselves. A posterboard defined self-appreciation as “seeing yourself exactly the way you are, valuing yourself for it, and showing yourself compassion.”
First-year Ariana Varnum says Lasell does a good job addressing students’ mental health, saying “the counseling center being available is a huge help, I’m very grateful.”
Sophomore communications major Jalynn Hilton has her own personal strategies to help her mental health. “I try to focus on my time management because it gets so busy when you have a packed schedule like I do,” Hilton said. “I try to focus on certain things at certain times. So I leave my homework for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. … another thing I do is I don’t take my work back to my room. I try to leave my room as a special place I can relax and if I do my homework in there it throws off the energy.”
Hruby also mentions there is still room for improvement. “There’s a lot of stuff that maybe we’re not even aware that we could be doing… part of that is figuring out the ways we can support our community in terms of mental health,” said Hruby. She also encourages students to share any ideas they have.
In the future, the Office of Health Education will be holding Fresh Check Day on March 3 and another tabling event in April. In the meantime, yoga sessions are held every Wednesday in de Witt Hall to help promote physical wellness and wellbeing for students.