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Iowa State Daily

Student Wellness on Iowa State campus

Julia+Litecky+pets+therapy+dogs+Zosia+and+Sydni+at+the+grand+opening+of+Press+Paws+in+Hamilton+Hall+on+Aug.+23%2C+2023.+
Brielle Tuttle
Julia Litecky pets therapy dogs Zosia and Sydni at the grand opening of Press Paws in Hamilton Hall on Aug. 23, 2023.

Iowa State University offers student wellness services throughout the entire academic semester. However, supporting students at the end of the semester is important to Student Counseling Services (SCS).

“Student Counseling Services sees the most increase in service use in October of each year. As we move toward the end of each semester, we tend to have an increase in students coming in for services,” said Michelle Roling, the assistant director of SCS. 

Because of this, SCS has resources available specifically for the end of the semester. 

“We have Barks@Parks, chair massages, ISU student wellness educators on hand, coloring pages, puzzles and games to work on and a mindfulness room in the library. At Cyclone Support, we have Wellness Wednesdays at Parks,” Roling said. 

Offered in Parks Library 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 15 and 29, Wellness Wednesdays prioritize mental health during prep and finals week. This space will let students let go and relax with the help of different activities, including Lego, meditation, reflections, gratitude journaling and goal setting. Wellness Wednesdays will also offer yoga, light therapy, breathing exercises and more. 

Press Paws is another resource for students, specifically students belonging to the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication who want to relieve stress.

“My job is to bring Lupa to the Press Paws visits at Hamilton Hall so students can pet her. Lupa’s job is just to sit or lay down and take all the love from the students,” said Rafael Geronimo, owner of a therapy dog, Lupa. 

Geronimo and Lupa are a TheraPet Team who visit Hamilton Hall. Geronimo and Lupa work as a team to reduce stress levels for students on campus.

“The students visit Lupa because they miss their dogs at home or because the stress is high at school, so when they are petting Lupa, you can almost see how their blood pressure drops,” Geronimo said.

The work Geronimo and Lupa are doing is not only reducing students’ stress but also bringing them together. 

“I also noticed that when the students are petting Lupa, they are more open to interacting with other students there and start talking between them, which in other situations might not be possible,” Geronimo said. 

Another resource for ISU students is MIND SPACE. The MIND SPACE is a private room located in Hamilton 0215. 

“MIND SPACE is an initiative to stop mental health stigma on campus and provide students with the resources they need to be their best selves,” said Jessica Mouw, one of the students who created MIND SPACE for their PR 424 capstone project. “The goal of MIND SPACE is to create a connected Cyclone community where there is no place for mental health stigma.” 

The physical room is in place to give students a place to take telehealth appointments and participate in mental health-related training.

“You are not alone. Seeking mental health resources helps you be a better friend, student and community member while helping you self-reflect and de-stress,” Mouw said. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, use the following resources: Crisis Text Line: ‘HELLO’ to 741741, 988 call or text. 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Call 911 for medical or substance-related concerns, or go to your local emergency room.

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