Big smiles, bubbles and bright colors filled the central quad Tuesday morning at the ninth annual Live Your Life Day.
The On-Campus Emergency Assistance Network, a suicide prevention group affiliated with Counseling and Psychological Services, invited students to join in and explore the importance of mental wellness from almost 50 different resources.
The event, hosted by Project OCEAN, was a “celebration of life and mental wellness” according to their website. Students gained resources, enjoyed fun activities and connected with other students to promote mental health. While this years theme was resilience, Live Your Life Day also focused on connection and growth.
“What I love about Live Your Life Day is that it was generated by students. Each year, students contribute to the ideas,” said CAPS psychologist, Lauren Jensen. “My biggest hope is that students have a day where they can do something fun and light, and pop the bubble of the everyday routine by getting into the moment and out of the other worries in the day.”
For those who wanted to tap into their artsy side, students could paint, color or add a personal butterfly note to the transformation tree. Hammocks, a lounge area and therapy dogs were also available for students that wanted to do something a little more relaxed.
Mlou Aquino, a first-time volunteer at the event, invited students to paint to de-stress and encourage them to think about the event’s theme of resilience when painting.
“It’s good to show support for the mental health community, and it’s good to show that there are resources on campus and there are people that care,” Aquino said.
One organization present at the event was Active Minds, a non-profit group that provides education, research, and opens up the conversation about mental health. The goal of Active Minds was to focus on fighting the stigma of students talking about their mental health problems.
“I have my own story on my mental health journey and even though I am okay now, there is a lot of people that don’t know where to get help,” said Sophie Pung, a senior health science major and president of Active Minds. “Our resources here are very comprehensive from the gym, to acupuncture, to CAPS, and all the clubs here.”
Power 4 Youth, another local non-profit group, set up a table to recruit mentors for teenagers and youth. Sanana Budhathoki, a spokesperson for the organization, said an academic mentoring program for youth could help develop healthy mental habits at a young age.
“Most of the time it’s more about the behind the scenes issues that are keeping them from doing good in school,” Budhathoki said.
LBSU makes an effort to have a wide variety of programs for students to seek assistance for their mental health, especially for students that are hesitant to open up about their problems and are afraid to admit they struggle with mental wellness. Live your Life Day aims to normalize the conversation.
“The school itself is insane with what it offers and that was one of the reasons why I came here,” said Riel Stephenson a junior sociology major. “I’ve been in therapy since I was 13, so I am very much in the stigma fighting concept of it all.”
Strings of origami cranes created with the help of volunteers hung from tents as students walked through the central quad. Many students lined up to get a balloon animal or snap a picture with friends in the photo booth while other students explored essential oils, meditated and grabbed snacks.
Participants were also able to win prizes and collect stickers that they could exchange for a free lunch or for time at the photo booth.
Javier Gonzales volunteered at the prize-giving booth where students could win anything from a tote bag to an LBSU engraved cup.
“It’s great to take some time to relax and enjoy your day especially at this time because we’re getting real close to finals and a lot of students are getting stressed out,” he said.