Students unwind at Stress Free Cafe

By Anna Smith
Staff writer

The University of West Florida’s Counseling and Psychological Services hosted the annual Stress Free Cafe in the Commons Great Hall on Oct. 3.

The event included free depression screenings, time with the Certified Pet Partners Therapy Dogs, yoga classe, and informational games.

“We all know that many if not most students are feeling a lot of pressure during this time in the semester and we want to emphasize the importance of taking a break and scheduling in stress relieving activities,” April Glenn, a mental health counselor at UWF, said. “Students will do much better academically if they have good habits such as regular sleep patterns, involvement in stress relieving activities such as exercise and play, and eating regular and nutritious meals.”

This event stressed the importance of positive behaviors and the benefits they can have on a student’s mental health and academic performance.

“The Stress Free Cafe events are an effort to make students aware of mental health and the importance of sleep and a positive attitude,” Mary Jo Hardin, a mental health counselor at UWF, said. “It also helps promote organizations that further supports students like the book store which offers stress relief coloring, or Active Minds which give students stress balls.”

According to the American Psychological Association, more than 30 percent of students who seek out mental health services have considered attempting suicide at some point in their lives. This number has risen from 24 percent in 2010.

The study suggests that the numbers are on the rise as more and more students are attending college.

Students who may not have attended college previously due to mental health issues, such as depression or schizophrenia, or behavioral or developmental concerns, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism, are now able to attend thanks to better treatment approaches and new medications,” the study reads.

Attendance to mental health events at UWF has peaked in the years since teaming up with the Certified Pet Partners Therapy Dogs.

Students had the opportunity to have some downtime with the therapy animals and interact with the owners, as well.

“Pet partners is incredibly relaxing for the students and anytime they are at UWF we have a good turnout at our events,” Hardin said.

Contact Mary Jo Hardin at 474-.2420 to schedule a counseling appointment or to find out about more mental health events.

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