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‘Mind Matters’ resource fair promotes mental health awareness

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The Minds Matter Resource Fair was held on March 14 in the Union and is part of a larger effort by the university to address the community’s growing need for mental health support. According to Jackie Rodriguez, health promotion director, there has been a rise in interest from faculty members for these services.

“The need has greatly increased in the last five years,” said Rodriguez. “It has come to our attention that there has been an increase in stress. Some of the surveys we have done on faculty have indicated that mental health is a very big concern.”

The resources offered at the fair are based off of the Six Dimensions of Wellness, a model created by the National Wellness Institute as a basis for their philosophy as an organization. Both the organization and the model were created to in 1977, and it has set the standard for promoting wellness since. In the model, there are six specific elements of life that all contribute to one’s wellness equally.

“The six dimensions are occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional. Usually when you talk about our mental health, we think of the emotional realm, but certainly you can’t just take one out and strictly focus on that and think the rest of your life is okay. They just interconnect so well together,” said Rodriguez. “We focus on exposing students to all six dimensions.”

To provide both students and staff with a wide range of resources, and in an effort to cover all six dimensions, BW partnered with several external organizations including Southwest General Hospital, Oak View Behavior Health, and Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. In addition to these organizations, there was also a number of resources native to BW present, including the school of nursing which provided free health screenings, and the counseling center which focused on stress relief.

Stress relief is one of the most effective methods to promote one’s wellbeing, according to Tim Hall, assistant director of prevention and outreach at Counseling Services. To help students deal with this, the counseling center set up an activity to create what they called stress-less kits.

“The stress-less kits were an opportunity to put together a kit of things that were just kind of mini stress relievers. We had gum, tea, you could choose either Play-Doh or Silly Putty,” said Hall. “Just kind of a quick stop kit in case you need something to relieve stress.”

Some other resources provided at the fair were “massage chairs, aromatherapy, a happy light which is for full light spectrum light therapy, and an air cleaner which helps change some of the ions in the air to boost mood,” said Rodriguez.

Another goal of the resource fair is to raise awareness of mental health directed at students who may not be aware of the support systems in place.

“As a student, it’s sometimes hard to know everything or you look for the resource until you need it. Whereas here we’re trying to be upfront so that you are aware that these things are on campus and maybe you hadn’t thought about it in this light before, that this can be a positive resource for you,” said Rodriguez.

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‘Mind Matters’ resource fair promotes mental health awareness