Trinity hosts Mental Health Week


Trinity Progressives invited members of the community to join them in a discussion with university mental health counselor Claudia Rodriguez Kypuros, right. photo by Chloe Sonnier, staff photographer

Planned as a collaboration between Trinity Progressives (T-Prog), TU Fit and Counseling Services, this year’s Mental Health Week included a discussion on mental health, a drop-in yoga session, a destress fest and extended walk-in hours in Counseling Services.

The community discussion was held in Waxahachie and led by Claudia Rodriguez Kypuros, mental health counselor, on Tuesday, April 3. According to wellness coordinator Katherine Hewitt, the event was intended to focus on questions students normally are apprehensive about asking and to encourage the accessibility of Counseling Services.

“Students often have questions like ‘How do I know that my mental health symptoms are so bad that I need to seek out treatment of some sort?’” Hewitt said. “We wanted to answer their questions and concerns.”

The discussion started with students sharing their experiences with Counseling Services. Many reported good feedback but echoed concern that students may be unaware of the resources offered or may feel they do not need help.

Students also raised concern about the busy culture of Trinity.

“It’s almost like a rite of passage to be overcommitted and overwhelmed. It’s like if you’re not overwhelmed, you’re not doing enough things, and that’s not healthy,” said sophomore Erica Schoenberg.

When asked how a student should measure when they should get help, Kypuros explained that it isn’t as hard as some may think.

“What I tell students is if there’s something, like stress, that’s getting in the way of your ability to function — can’t study, can’t eat, can’t sleep. Or maybe it’s the opposite — eating too much, sleeping too much,” Kypuros said. “When whatever emotional issue you’re experiencing is getting in the way of your ability to function, then it’s time.”

Trinity Progressive’s co-president and senior Maddie Kennedy emphasized the importance of hearing students’ opinions and concerns.

“This [event] will be very interactive and will give students the opportunity to voice their concerns,” Kennedy said. “Something I hear a lot is people who are unsure how to discuss mental health with their professors or with an administrator and we’re going to discuss that.”

An event that has proved to be popular in previous years is the Super Nacho Hour and Resource Fair, which took place on Wednesday on the Coates Esplanade. This event will feature numerous mental health experts and organizations such as the Rape Crisis Center, the Eating Recovery Center, Trinity’s Body Project and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a non-profit mental health organization.

Along with volunteer opportunities and information about mental health resources, the fair had a table dedicated to trivia about Counseling Services and general information about anxiety and depression, as well as a raffle for a free Fitbit.

The drop-in meditation and yoga session, sponsored by TU Fit, also happened on Wednesday, in the grass by Miller Fountain.

TU Fit’s certified yoga instructor Brandie Regalado conducted the session, and TU Fit’s meditation instructor Malcom Fox, sophomore, held a meditation session.

This is the first year TU Fit has helped co-sponsor Mental Health Week at the suggestion of Hewitt. Based on recent studies, physical activity correlates with mental strength, and TU Fit will provide the opportunity for students to try this on their way to class by incorporating fitness into the week.

“We wanted to represent the week because mental health is very important, especially in college,” said TU Fit’s president Sarah Gorban, sophomore. “It’s good for people to know that there are resources available on and off campus.”

Counseling Services offered extended walk-in hours every day this week in the hopes of helping more people feel comfortable with reaching out. Hewitt expressed that often students wonder about knowing when is an appropriate time to visit Counseling Services.

“People often think [their stress level] is not that bad or that their symptoms aren’t as bad as others,” Hewitt said. “However, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty when you are in a crisis or when you are too stressed out to handle it on your own.”

For more information about mental health resources on campus, contact Counseling and Health Services.