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Kindness rocks: Mental health event encourages students to get creative

Students+painting+kindness+rocks+at+an+event+held+by+Mindspace+in+the+Hamilton+commons+on+Nov.+29%2C+2023.+
Brittany Huston
Students painting kindness rocks at an event held by Mindspace in the Hamilton commons on Nov. 29, 2023.

Iowa State students gathered in Hamilton Hall on Wednesday evening to paint kindness rocks and enjoy a free meal. MIND SPACE, a newly formed student-run mental health resource on campus, hosted the event.

Mckenzie Weimerskirch, Bailey Kollasch and Jessica Mouw are all seniors studying public relations. They are also some of the team members behind MIND SPACE and were present at the event to raise awareness about MIND SPACE and mental health.

According to Weimerskirch, the organization chose rock painting as the event activity because coloring helps people de-stress.

“We wanted to bring people together,” Kollasch said. “It’s been very positive, very happy. It’s really nice to see [the] creativity.”

“[The event] ties into our mission a lot,” Mouw said. “Mental health resources aren’t just clinical… during finals, it can be hard to take time to invest in yourself.”

MIND SPACE was created as the PR 424 class capstone project this semester. The program, which stands for Mental Independence and Nurturing Development and Solitary Place for Achieving Calm Emotions, opened its physical location in Room 0215 in Hamilton Hall in early November. According to the MIND SPACE website, the room is “a physical space on campus designed for relaxation and self-reflection. It’s a quiet sanctuary where you can take a break, find solace and gather your thoughts.”

The room also has free mental health resources such as self-help materials, information about other mental health services on campus, fidget toys and snacks.

Even though MIND SPACE values anonymity and does not track who uses the room, the team behind the project believes about 40 students have used it since it opened.

“Being able to offer a specific space for not only just relaxing or studying, but then also for telehealth services and stuff, just like adding that additional benefit of privacy is really really helpful,” said Kathleen Hepworth, who was another MIND SPACE organizer at the event and a junior in public relations. “The fact that 40 people have [come] and visited since it opened just kind of demonstrates the need for it in the first place.”

MIND SPACE organizers are currently trying to figure out how to continue the program into next semester, even though they will no longer be in charge of it.

“Hopefully, we can sustain the project throughout the next semester,” Hepworth said. “We want to keep it up for as long as we can.”

Hepworth was at the event with her twin sister, Laura, who is a junior double majoring in Spanish and criminal justice.

“[It’s nice to know] that there’s a spot that was invented by like-minded individuals and like, peers of my own age who understand the struggles of college and… what might help us feel better and kind of eliminate those stresses,” Laura Hepworth said.

It was also Laura’s first time in Hamilton, but she said that now that she knows where the room is located, she will likely come back.

The organizers expected 100 attendees to show up to the event and they exceeded those expectations, ending the night with 103 attendees.

While the MIND SPACE has no further events planned this semester, they are hosting a giveaway on their Instagram through Dec. 4. Iowa State students have the chance to win a gift basket with a free Stanley cup, journal, stress ball and Starbucks gift card just in time for finals.

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