Toledo: Women’s Empowerment Series discusses importance of mental health


Claudia Toledo/Iowa State Daily

The Women’s Empowerment Series discusses the “Wellness Wheel” on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.

Claudia Toledo

Knocking down the stigmas and silence around mental health is a thriving change occurring on campuses across the country, and the female specific series here on campus is shining a light on the importance of mental health.

Part two of the four part Women’s Empowerment Series was hosted at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening in the Gallery Room, and the focus was all about wellness amongst students.

The interactive discussion was led by Erin Pederson, member of the psychology staff on campus, alongside Melissa Heinrich, doctoral intern. Participants got the chance to reflect on their overall well being and mental health through an activity geared towards evaluating the many components of a healthy mind and body.

A “Wellness Wheel” included elements such as mental and physical health, spirituality and personal growth. Students interacted among each other to collaborate on ways to improve upon the areas they felt lacked balance in their lives. The overall goal was to demonstrate the fluidity of wellness, as well as to draw attention to the areas of personal accomplishment.

The event was organized by the Collegiate Panhellenic Council of Iowa State, an organization which aims to provide support and advocate for the advancement and enhancement of the sorority experience.

“The series is aiming to reach more students, and on a bigger scale, since our organization is centered on empowering one another,” said Allison Juntunen, vice president of membership development of the Collegiate Panhellenic Council.

Students exchanged thoughts and feelings on how they could improve their own mentalities in the often stressful lifestyle of a busy college student.

“I would have probably never weighed out all these aspects beside one another without the wellness wheel,” said Emily Polinsky, junior in child, adult and family services.

Raquel D’Escoto, senior in child, adult and family services agreed with Polinsky.

“The activity was good at giving some perspective [to mental health],” said D’Escoto.

Those in attendance were able to learn about all of the available counseling services provided by student health, ranging from group and career therapy, to crisis and individual sessions.