Students left the Campus Commons less stressed on Wednesday afternoon, and more aware of mental health, thanks to a couple furry friends.
Seven dogs were made available for students to play with as part of Puppy Therapy, one event of Stress Less Week.
“It lets us take 30 minutes out of our day to play with puppies instead of doing our homework,” said Sarah Hall, a junior accounting major.
Cortney Gumbleton, the suicide prevention outreach coordinator, said Stress Less Week was created this year to help students relax while preparing for finals.
“It’s also teaching them different things that they can do to relieve stress,” Gumbleton said.
Different activities were offered April 20-24, including yoga, Peace Rocks, mood tests, Going Out with a Bang, Puppy Therapy, Play Day, Stress Less kits, Summer Blow Out and Rockwall Climb-Off.
This is the first year that an entire week was dedicated to lowering stress.
Last year, only one afternoon was offered to students to make Stress Less kits—a collection of snacks, school supplies, stress balls and other stress-relieving objects, Gumbleton said.
“Students made over 500 Stress Less kits just that day within that couple hours,” Gumbleton said. “That’s why we thought, ‘If we could do this over a whole week, what kind of student participation could we get?’”
FrogSpeak, a student organization fighting against the mental health stigma, was one of the groups partnered with the counseling center to host Stress Less Week.
Emily Marquez, a first-year strategic communication major and president of FrogSpeak, said that Stress Less Week is a good way to start the conversation about mental health.
“Everybody’s conscious of not being racist, but not everybody is conscious of not perpetuating the stigma around mental health,” Marquez said. “My overall goal is to try to get rid of that stigma and it’s going to take small things, like Stress Less Week to reach everybody and make sure everybody is aware of the issues.”
Gumbleton said that if she receives good feedback, Stress Less week can be repeated next semester.
“I’m an alum. I remember how stressful this time is right now, but it’s important to take care of yourself,” Gumbleton said. “Self-care is important.”