In the busy lives of Tech students, meditation might seem like an unlikely resort. However, it is one that the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) wants to popularize to help students take care of their mental health.
Understanding the importance of mental health in the United States, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) recognizes the week after Labor Day as National Suicide Prevention Week.
As part of the Suicide Prevention Week (SPW) organized on the Tech campus from Sept. 11–15, the CRC conducted a free meditation event on Thursday open to the entire student body.
The Technique had the opportunity to speak with Abby Harvey, CRC Competitive Sports Coordinator, about the event. This was Harvey’s — and the CRC’s — first time working on the SPW event. Although they had previously tabled their services, they had not taken as active an organizational role as they have this year.
Harvey explained why meditation was specifically chosen as an event for SPW.
“Mental and physical health are tied together. Meditation seemed like a feasible activity to introduce to Tech students — it can be done everywhere, even in a student’s room and is quite approachable,” Harvey said.
The CRC currently organizes meditation sessions through their group fitness programs at a semesterly cost to students. Thursday’s meditation was led by a CRC meditation instructor. Although working on the SPW was outside the CRC staff’s line of work, it was a commitment they were keen to follow through on for the good of the community at Tech.
“When Andrew [Andrew Stochel, Staff Psychologist/QPR Coordinator at Tech] approached us with the idea of working on the SPW, we were excited about the prospect. Aside from this event, something I would like to do in the future is pro bono meditation programs. Connecting the CRC with the Wellness Center is a goal I am working towards,” Harvey said.
Luckily for the CRC and Harvey, their efforts to popularize meditation and mental health awareness have not been in vain.
“The student response has been very positive – whenever these issues are addressed, they appreciate it. It is important to advocate for mental health within the context of the CRC as well. Students approach me in the CRC looking for solutions to take better care of their mental health. In the past, we provided students with Mental Health First Aid training, so that they could help themselves or any of their peers. We also assisted with crisis response training in a similar way,” Harvey said.
Particularly in her role as Competitive Sports Coordinator, Harvey feels the need for mental health prioritization. She told the Technique, “we currently work with both trainers and students within the CRC to integrate mental and physical wellbeing. Whenever athletes have injuries or challenging nights, we must be there to help them emotionally while their physical recovery is underway.”
While the event was limited to a small audience, the efforts put forth by Harvey and the CRC will hopefully spark more interest.T he CRC also organized the Acts of Kindness event on Monday, Pet Therapy on Tuesday, Swarm of Support on Wednesday and QPR training on Friday during SPW — all of which were well received by the Tech student community. Together, these initiatives played a major role in continuing the conversation regarding suicide prevention and mental health on campus.