“You Matter at UNI” week kicks off

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“You Matter at UNI” week adapts and take place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAROLINE CHRISTENSEN, News Editor

Today, Monday Feb. 8, kicks off “You Matter at UNI” Week, an annual week long event launched in 2016 which aims to spread awareness about mental health on campus. The UNI Counseling Center will be hosting multiple events throughout the week, including a resource table in Maucker Union, a table for cocoa and counseling, mental health ally training, mindfulness and watercolor painting as well as a mental health Jeopardy night.

Also featured will be an exhibit entitled “In My Shoes,” which will display works of art and creative writing submitted by UNI and Hawkeye Community College students that explore mental health and diversity. Submissions for the exhibit were opened in Oct. 2020 and ran through the end of Jan. 2021. Projects will be displayed in Maucker Union for students and UNI community members to admire.

UNI Counseling Center graduate assistant in suicide prevention Riley Rodemaker encouraged all students to participate in as many events as possible to gain a better understanding of mental health.

“Students that engage in these events can expect to find a community of people that are passionate about mental health and want to make our campus a better place,” Rodemaker said. “If you are struggling with your mental health, there are a lot of great options for resources that are available to you as a student. I think the events (this) week will also provide a mental health-oriented community so that people can realize they do not have to do this alone.”

Although many events must be held over Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions, Rodemaker assures the events will still be beneficial for students.

“We are proud of the activities that we have planned,” Rodemaker said. “In particular, we figured out a way to host the Cocoa and Counseling event again, except this year it is virtual, and participants can pick up a goodie bag with hot cocoa.”

Anxiety and depression are prevalent issues for many students, exacerbated by those who must quarantine and isolate due to COVID-19. 

“It is also not always obvious who may be dealing with their mental health, so make sure to check in with your friends, co-workers, fellow classmates and family,” Rodemaker said. “Sometimes the strongest, funniest people are struggling too. Now with that being said, it’s also important to take care of yourself as well. Make time for self-care. Do things you enjoy and that bring you some peace of mind.”

For more information regarding dates, times and Zoom links for events, visit  https://counseling.uni.edu/youmatteratuni.