Story by Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer, Video by Sarah Gill | Broadcast Reporter
To continue Baylor’s Mental Health Awareness Week, student activities and student government partnered up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday in the SUB Den to present Exhale, an interactive experience promoting well-being and mindfulness.
Each day of Mental Health Awareness Week contains an emphasis, and Tuesday’s focus was academic stress. Exhale served as a pop-up hands-on experience in which students could interact with different stations to focus on creativity or mindful thinking. Provided materials and activities included paper and pens for journaling, board games and art supplies, free snacks, guides promoting mindfulness through listening to music and poster boards where students could write about how they pursue well-being in daily life.
Springfield, Mo., sophomore Katie Groves participated in the event through her involvement in student government and appreciated the Exhale pop-up as a way for students to destress, especially during a week that is known for having essays and exams.
“Today’s pop-up shop was focused on academic stress, and it had activities for study breaks and stress relief because school can be very overwhelming for people,” Groves said. “We had snacks, games to play with, bubble wrap to pop, coloring books and crayons all as a way to help destress from everything going on. It’s a place of relief for some people because school can be very stressful, and that can be when people’s mental health takes a toll.”
Groves also appreciated how the Exhale mindfulness experience contributed to Mental Health Awareness Week as a whole, promoting ways to destress and stay centered in the midst of business and schedules.
“Every day has a different emphasis which is great because there are so many aspects of mental health that we need to focus on,” Groves said. “This pop-up was really meant to relax people and later on there will be dogs on Fountain Mall, which are both ways to help people separate from all the stress and have a time to breathe and realize that there are things going on outside their bubble of pressure.”
Groves enjoyed the partnership between student activities and student government for the event and said that student body president Hannah Causey has played an important role in promoting Mental Health Awareness week on campus.
“She’s been really spearheading Mental Health Awareness Week, and her and her entire cabinet have been very hands-on with everything that’s going on,” Groves said. “I know that they’re putting a lot of emphasis within student government for us to get involved and attend some of the events or spread the word about all that’s happening.”
Houston junior Karin Simpson viewed the event as a chance for students to destress and keep their mind off of exams or busy schedules but said that earlier promotion may have been helpful in informing students about the events.
“It’s a great way to distract people from exams or other stresses in their lives,” Simpson said. “I think the pop-up could be helpful for students, especially if they had advertised for a couple weeks in advance. It made it hard to remember that events were going on but if it had been mentioned several times I think it could’ve helped even more students.”
Simpson sees the value in this weeks’ focus on mental health and views it as important to inform students about the causes and signs of mental illness.
“It’s important to have these awareness weeks because mental health is a big issue, especially for college students,” Simpson said. “People have academic stress and personal stress in their lives and once all these little stresses build up, it could cause some major damage. Many people don’t understand the signs of mental illness so just being aware that there are some is very helpful.”
Upcoming themes this week include “healthy relationships” on Wednesday, “fighting stigma” on Thursday and “fitness and health” on Friday. Other events this week include therapy dogs, domestic violence awareness on Fountain Mall, a free F45 class every day and yoga. Updates and daily schedules can be found on Baylor’s Student Government Facebook or Instagram pages.