The Active Minds club, in partnership with the Outdoors Club, held recess in Fountain Square on Wednesday, April 20. For the first time in years, students were given the opportunity to hula-hoop, finger paint and use sidewalk chalk between their classes.
The event comes as part of the national Stress Less Week, which is a stress relief and awareness program that attempts to decrease stress among college students.
“The aim is to get people to be aware of mental health issues,” said Susie Sympson, Active Minds club adviser. “But also with the end of the semester coming, college students undergo a lot of stress. Especially people here who are working too much, going to school, some of them dealing with families, a lot of them have been dealing with their own psychological issues and so this is … a reason to get out, pretend like you’re a kid again and destress.”
Active Minds club strives to educate people about mental health issues and to reduce the stigma, according to Sympson.
Club member Yanitzi Manriquez, who gardens as a way to reduce stress, sold her plants during the recess event. Manriquez recently joined the Active Minds club and shared her thoughts so far.
“They’re all nice people,” said Manriquez. “And they’ll hear you out whenever you have an idea, or whenever you want to talk about something that’s stressing you. They understand how you feel. … It helps to know that there’s people around here you can talk to.”
Sympson expressed the importance of knowing you’re not alone when dealing with stress or mental health issues.
“This is a passion of mine … to try to get people aware of all the different people out there who care, and how many people they know who also suffer from the same things,” said Sympson. “I’m hoping this event lets people … destress and get ready for the end of the semester and feel renewed … I’m hoping [students] get a break and remember what it was like when they were young and didn’t have to deal with so many pressures.”
The Active Minds club hosts recess every year during Stress Less Week in April. The club has weekly meetings at 12 p.m. in Carlsen Center 232. They will also be hosting a presentation by author Stacy Pershall on Wednesday, April 27 at 12 p.m. in the Hudson Auditorium. The presentation will focus on eliminating stigma surrounding mental health. The event will be free and open to the public.