UVU’s mental health crisis addressed during 10th annual volunteer week events

Kate Hofer, art therapist, shows students what their subconscious is telling them by analyzing their art creations.

Kate Hofer, art therapist, shows students what their subconscious is telling them by analyzing their art creations.

Photos by Abby Van Buren

UVolunteer Week, hosted by the Service Council, shifted its theme this year from traditional service projects and focused on mental health instead by arranging events each day from Sept. 25 to 29 to serve and raise awareness.

The weeklong event included de-stressing with dogs, empowering students with self-affirmation through writing what they love about themselves on a poster, creating art as a form of therapy with Kate Hofer, art therapist, writing state representatives in hopes of gaining more funding for mental health resources and more.

The therapist to student ratio on campus is in the bottom fifth percent in the country, according to Jackson Miner, president of the Service Council.

“It is something that is very important to me and isn’t talked about enough,” Miner said.

The idea to focus on mental health was influenced by an experience Miner had in a social change class. One of his classmates was struggling with depression and reached out for help. There was a six week waiting period before she could see an on-campus therapist, and she couldn’t even go because she was only taking six credits and needed to be taking nine, according to Miner. “That didn’t sit well with me.”

“It is a huge need on campus, and I decided to use my position of planning volunteer week as a pedestal to speak about this,” Miner said. “I hope this is an eye-opening experience that makes people want to talk about it more.”

“I feel like everyone has their own struggles and needs help,” Hailey Paulson, a business management student said. “It’s good to have people know that, ‘oh, I have this problem but I can get help,’ and I think that is a really good thing.”

“I definitely think there isn’t such a thing as making too much awareness,” said Faith Hammond, a geology major.

Steven Connell, an animation major and art therapy event attendee said, “It’s about finding what we sometimes hide from, and it focuses our minds on where we need to go next.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please reach out to campus Mental Health Services at 801-863-8876 to make your appointment. You can also call Utah’s 24-hour, seven days a week service staffed by mental health professionals at 801-587-3000.

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