Story by Leah Ash, Culture Editor, and Zach Avery, Editor in Chief
Photos courtesy of Leah Ash and Matthew Yeoman
On Monday October 18th, Aquinas College began their activities for Mental Health Awareness Week. With coordination between Calli Ackels, an intern at AQ Counseling, Health and Wellness, and Aquinas students Josie Gonzalez and Bridget Baehl, a few goals were set for the week’s events: To both educate students about mental health, as well as to provide activities that would promote positive mental health.
While some Aquinas students took the opportunity of some cancelled class times for a trip back home, others have remained on campus due to commitments with athletics or otherwise. The events offered during the past week have served as an opportunity for said students to take a much-needed break and enjoy some activities that encourage stress relief.
To kick the week off, students were invited to join yoga teacher Lauren Hatrick on Holmdene Lawn. This yoga session was meant to give students a chance to breathe. Hatrick’s journey into yoga began as a way to slow down.
“It was a time for me to just be,” Hatrick said. “To move and be present in the moment and breathe.”
As a practice, yoga focuses on the body and the breath, which allows for moments of mindfulness. Focusing solely on your body and breathing is an easy way to forget the outside world, leaving behind the stress of classes and life.
The Aquinas Programming Board hosted their “Happy Little Trees” event with a similar motive: To help students alleviate stress and just watch some old episodes of “The Joy of Painting” and create works of art alongside Bob Ross.
“We usually like to do events that meet people at different social levels,” said Bridget Baehl, the president of AQPB. “We don’t only want to organize events for people who are really out there. This is one of our more chill events, and since it is Mental Health Awareness Week, nothing is more calming than Bob Ross.”
Students present at the event certainly appreciated the time to forget about classes and put their all into a beautiful piece of art. Of the many creations made, none were exactly alike, and each student was able to express themself without restriction or criticism.
Ackels was eager to pair up with SAO and AQPB to put on these events. She reminded us that “As college students, you are particularly susceptible to mental health disorders, such as depression, due to the immense pressure to balance academics, social life, extracurricular activities, and mental well-being during a time of transition.”
Ackels wants students to remember that CHWS is always there, and that they have eight free visits that they can use at any time. Take care of yourselves, Saints.