Roosevelt students color their moods with the Counseling Center
By Daria Sokolova
“Color Your Mood,” an event organized by the Counseling Center as a part of Mental Health Awareness Week at Roosevelt University, offered students a creative way to convey their moods and get free consultations on the spot.
Roosevelt students stopped by the table set up by the Counseling Center to color a blank template from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 9 in Fainman Lounge.
“What we are doing today is trying to raise mental health awareness for this week,” said Ryan Coventry, peer advocate with the Counseling Center at Roosevelt. “We have a lot of different events and a lot of causes we are trying to get to. We try to split everything up by a week and focus on one topic or issue per week.”
According to the American Psychological Association, mental health remains one of the biggest concerns among college students across the nation. The recent survey conducted by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors suggests that anxiety tops the list of the most common problems college students face (41.6 percent), followed by depression (36.4 percent) and relationship problems (35.8 percent).
“We are here for a few hours to give students the opportunity to express themselves and normalize the idea that you have some form of mood or some form of feeling and that’s OK,” Coventry said. “Bringing awareness to it and understanding that you have this mood is a great way to get the sense of katharsis.”
Coventry said the name of the event is a result of the collaborative effort of the Counseling Center that offers a variety of services aimed at maintaining and improving students’ mental well-being.
“The Counseling Center provides individual, couples and group therapy,” Coventry said. “It’s free for students at Roosevelt University.”
The “Color Your Mood” event served as a conversation starter for those who needed assistance managing their feelings and coping with emotional problems. The event aimed to approach these issues in a creative and fun way.
“It’s a tiny little template that has a blank face and that’s your expression of yourself,” Coventry said. “You have the face you can draw: I’m happy, I’m feeling sad, I’m feeling frazzled, I’m stressed out — which tends to be the norm for students right now because it’s midterms. Just kind of drawing the face and then writing a word underneath to describe that face so you can recognize how you are feeling.”
Biology sophomore Imori Wright, who stopped by the table to learn about the Counseling Center and grab some candies, colored her template in red.
“My mood is mixed emotions,” Wright said. “I put a sad face on it because I’m overwhelmed with school and working on papers and trying to put it all together. It’s frustrating to take a class that you feel has nothing to do with your major and then trying to make sure you do a good job so you can be successful. It’s just overwhelming.”
Wright said she finds university resources useful when it comes to doing her homework and had already taken advantage of the university’s Writing Center and library.
“School has a part to do with [my mood,] but not so much because this is a really friendly school and people are open,” Wright said. “There are a lot of offices and people to help you. It’s just the amount of work and making sure the professor made it clear what he wanted.”
Michael Bush-Jones, a sociology junior who also colored a template, described his mood as “in-between content.”
“I’m content with the way things are going, but I would like them to be a little bit better,” he explained. “I don’t feel like I’m happy or I’m sad. I’m just getting by with the way things are.”
Bush-Jones added that although he is struggling with some of his courses, he likes the academic atmosphere at Roosevelt and supports the school’s mission of social justice, as he is looking forward to pursue a career in social work.
“I don’t want to say I feel overwhelmed, but I just always feel like I’m always behind for some reason,” he said. “I missed a couple of assignments in my women’s and gender studies class, and I’m behind already on a paper in my [writing for social justice] class.”
Those who stopped by to color their mood could also pick up a blue ribbon, a symbol of Mental Health Awareness Week.
“Something as simple as recognizing how you are feeling can be a great game-changer for some students who haven’t been able to address that and are feeling overwhelmed,” Coventry said. “Even if it’s on a sheet of paper, it does some great good for students who need it.”
According to the data provided by the Counseling Center, 3/4 of mental disorders are likely to begin by age 24, while the report of fall 2012 enrollment at Roosevelt University stated the average age of a Roosevelt student to be 27.
The Counseling Center also focuses on other problems college students may encounter. Substance abuse and domestic violence are among some of the issues upcoming workshops will tackle.
“Expressing the mood is a normal thing,” Coventry said. “It’s a universal feeling to have moods, to have thoughts, to have perceptions, to be experiencing something at any point in time. The [way] we are doing it today is just one way to express yourself. But acknowledging your feelings and how those are affecting what you are experiencing is really beneficial. Allowing yourself to know those feelings are impacting your life can help you understand what’s going on.”
The Counseling Center has consultation hours Mon.-Thurs. from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in AUD 470. Students can also visit the center’s website at roosevelt.edu/counseling.
Counseling Center Events Calendar:
1. Alcohol Awareness Week: Oct. 28– Oct. 31
-Tuesday, Oct. 29, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Wabash 14th Floor
“Drunk Goggles” Obstacle Course
-Know Your Drink Pong Wednesday, Oct. 30, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Fainman Lounge
2. Now What?: Detours, Speed Bumps and Open Roads
-Wednesday, Oct. 23, 4 p.m., WB 317
-Thursday, Oct. 24, 12:15 p.m., WB 317