By Jax Dieugenio
As the college community continues to adapt to the many difficulties resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, college-aged young adults have seen an unprecedented rise in mental health issues.
In order to combat these issues and create a safe space within the College’s community, the AmIOk Program hosted a virtual gathering entitled “Healing People, Heal People” on April 14.
AmIOk is a “confidential service program on campus whose purpose it is to connect survivors of crime or trauma as well as loved ones to free resources,” said Sophia Alexis, a sophomore psychology major and AmIOk student ambassador.
In addition to taking participants step by step through the AmIOk service process, the virtual forum set out to provide students the opportunity to “create positive affirmations,” a mental health technique that is easily applicable to anyone’s life.
One affirmation read by sophomore marketing major and AmiOk student representative Erika Heinrich was a short, yet powerful phrase: “You Matter.”
Reflecting on her affirmation, Heinrich expanded, “We get so busy with our lives and sometimes we can get a little bit isolated in our own thoughts and we forget about the people that care about us...That daily reminder shows us that we are loved and have endless support.”
Another activity conducted in the meeting meant to create positive mental health practices was the use of music.
While participants wrote their own personal affirmations, a curated playlist of “good mood songs” played with the intention of creating a positive headspace.
Discussing further about the many services offered by AmIOk, Alexis explained, “AmIOk has a 24/7 hotline at (609) 270-4524 that students can use to ask questions or reach out for help and an email email@example.com for any questions. Services can include counseling, medical examinations, transportation and help to contact the police.”
Alexis explained that within each of these services is the goal of providing direct help to the victim.
“We use a victim-centered approach, which means that those who qualify can choose the services they want,” Alexis said.
In the difficult virtual setting of this ongoing pandemic, in-person services provided by the organization have remained available.
Alexis noted, “As of now, services can be offered both in-person and virtually all confidentially.”