By Hannah Nicholson
*Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct sponsors of the event. The article originally stated that the NU Wellness Center was the event sponsor, but it was in fact hosted by GPC.*
GPC hosted a Mental Health Panel in Perks Lounge on Wednesday, Oct. 9, devoting a night of discussion to a topic that is often averted in Christian culture. The panel took place the day before World Mental Health Day.
The panel members expressed awareness that mental health is a sensitive subject and wished to provide a comfortable way for students to ask their questions. As students walked in, they were provided with a card which had information about a website to submit their questions to. The student moderator would read the questions that came in off of her phone.
During the question and answer session, around thirteen questions were answered. One of the questions posed was: What are some good self-care routines? Hannah Alcoba, a Wellness Center counselor, defined the idea of self-care as “anything that makes your soul feel nourished.” Alcoba said it is okay to watch Netflix, if that is something that feels good, or to take a walk if that is what you need.
Another part of the night featured some tips on how to calm someone when they have a panic attack, which takes away a person’s ability to realistically orient themselves to the present. Walking them through their panic with a few simple, almost silly questions like “what are some colors in this room?” or “what are some shapes you see?” helps the brain to refocus and reset.
The event was well-attended, with almost every seat in the lounge taken and hardly any standing room available. Jaime Cervantes, a junior at NU, said she felt very skeptical about the panel at first because of the stigma between Christian’s and mental health. After the panel, Cervantes said that she believes the event was good for everyone to see the people who work at the Wellness Center, as well as Res Life are here to help students when they are struggling.
The night featured five NU staff or faculty panelists: Director of Residence Life and Housing Sarah Jobson, Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Jeff Cook, Counseling Services Supervisor Sarah Davison, Wellness Center Counselor Hannah Alcoba, and Wellness Center counseling intern D’Anthony Smith.
Jobson recommended two books throughout the night, the first called Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons. The second book is by John Mark Comer called My Name Is Hope: Anxiety, Depression and Life After Melancholy. Jobson recommended these books for a refreshing read on mental health during the fall season.
Students were encouraged to contact the Wellness Center with any questions concerning mental health. More information about the services provided can be found here.