Making mental health kits with CDI&E

Students creating their mental health kits.

Story by Leah Ash, Culture Editor

Photos courtesy of Leah Ash

Mental health is often a large discussion topic in college campuses – and Aquinas is no exception. Every student faces difficulties within the semester that can cause them to struggle with their mental health. 

Deadlines, family problems, friend drama and school work can overload students with stress, and as we move into October we quickly approach midterm season, a point in the semester where students begin to face some major academic challenges. 

In an effort to remind students to take care of themselves as we approach heavier workloads, the Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (CDI&E) hosted an event where students gathered together to create their own “Mental Health Kits.”

Students were given a paper bag and were able to fill it up with a variety of delicious snacks, like chocolate kisses, chips and fruit leather, as well as some hygiene items like shower steamers, tissues and chapstick. 

Not only that, but attendees could also decorate their bags with drawings or quotes to inspire them. Stickers were also available to either collect or put on their mental health kits too. 

Throughout the entire event, the movie “Inside Out” was played on the big screen, offering students another chance to forget about school and enjoy watching a movie. In the process, they would be reminded of the importance of their feelings in life – it’s better not to bottle them up. 

“We wanted to offer students something to work on and the chance to talk to others who are going through the same things and feeling the same way,” said Yussef Abdullahi, diversity assistant for CDI&E. “We wanted to help let them express their emotions and come together as a community.”

Students Aseel Jadallah and Jenesis Dotson checking out the available stickers.

Ultimately, CDI&E wanted to offer students an outlet.

“We wanted to put on this event so we could give students of Aquinas a chance to relax and focus on things other than school,” said Drew Huegli, another CDI&E diversity assistant. 

Students who attended enjoyed the event as well.

“It’s a great way to spend the evening,” said student Summer Hickok. “It made me feel happy and I love getting free stuff.”

Throughout the event, students gathered at the tables and chatted with each other, smiling and laughing. CDI&E achieved its goal: students were able to focus on taking care of themselves and each other while having fun, without stressing about school.