Students were able to take a break and learn about healthy coping skills at the Take a Brain Break event in Taylor Hall on Thursday, Dec. 5. 

The idea behind this event was to help students find healthy coping mechanisms. The event was organized by Matti Chrisman and Molly Chamier, who are both senior communication studies majors.

“So it’s right before finals week, and we are encouraging students to come and learn more about their mental health, specifically stress and how to cope with stress,” Chrisman said. “We’ve done a lot of research that college students don’t necessarily have the best coping skills. We like to cope in ways that don’t necessarily agree with us and make us healthier people. And often, our coping skills lead to more stress.”

This event was a project for a senior-level capstone experience Chrisman and Chamier are in. They had to pick an important topic and find a way to help the community in regards to that topic. 

Some students went with hosting an event, but others have organized a march and social media campaigns. 

“I think it showed them that even with all the coursework that students have taken and the different concentrations they come from that when they come together, they can actually produce something and they have something to market their skills to potential employers." Catherine Goodall, a communication studies professor, said.

Chrisman and Chamier worked together and brought in professionals in the field to help talk to students. These professionals were able to give a stress test and provide information on what to do if you get stressed out and where you can find help.  

Jennifer Francis and Jennifer Parmenter were two of the professionals at the event from Family and Community Services. Francis is a clinical supervisor of addiction and recovery services and Parmenter is a clinical counseling supervisor. 

Chrisman interviewed Francis before the event to do some research on the topic of unhealthy coping skills. 

“Just knowing that you’re not alone, I think that that’s really important,” Francis said. “So many of us have so much going on in our life. I think with the increase of social media, we just tend to see the positives and think that everyone is out there living this amazing life with no struggle. And once you sit down and talk to a person, you find out that everyone is going through something.”

Family and Community Services provides counseling for anyone who needs it. 

Chamier and Chrisman chose to focus on mental health and coping habits as the topic of this event because they believe it needs to be addressed more. 

“We decided to do mental health and healthy coping habits because a lot of college students don’t know how to cope,” Chamier said. “They go out with their friends and they think drinking heavily is OK. I mean, it makes you forget for a little bit, but it doesn’t make you forget for the long term. Plus, that has a bad effect on your liver anyway.”

Mental health and stress can be hard on students.  

“Mental health plays a large role on how we feel, as well as our physical health, our emotional well-being, how we get along with others and then of course is going to play into even how we can come into our classrooms and perform in a classroom setting,” Parmenter said. “And it plays into our future. It kind of permeates everything our entire life.”

Contact Ryanne Locker at rlocker1@kent.edu.

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