Students beat the blues at VU event

On January 12 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room an event called Beat the Blues was held in an effort to promote awareness about seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression and the winter blues. The event also aimed to promote awareness of and destigmatize mental health said WWU Counseling Center Director Shari Robinson.

After filling out seasonal pattern and mood questionnaires, students were sent to one of three counselors for further screening. All of the counselors at the event were from the WWU Counseling Center, PWS or faculty from the Psychology department. Students who seemed more than moderately depressed may have been offered a follow-up appointment.

Kelsey Grunigen and Shannon McCune, two members of Animals as Natural Therapy, brought two therapy dogs. This allowed students an opportunity to de-stress by sitting with and petting the dogs. “Spending time with a dog can actually lower cortisol levels which contribute to stress,” said Grunigen.

McCune also said being with animals slows you down a bit and reminds you that the things you are currently struggling with will soon pass.

There were many activities for students to take part in and relax with. These included meditation, rock painting, coloring, button and bracelet making and a chance to make a sea salt scrub. A raffle was also held giving away several Verilux HappyLights, which are be used to treat or prevent SAD.

Beat the Blues was put on by the WWU Counseling Center, the Disability Outreach Center, Prevention and Wellness Services and BRAVE. Other partners included the Student Health Center and Environmental Health and Saftey.

Students who want to speak to a counselor because of SAD, or for any other reason, can contact the WWU Counseling Center at 360-650-3164.

AS Social Issues Resource Center Outreach Coordinator Wayne Rocque shows off one of the rocks he painted. Photo by Dylan Nelson / WWU Communications and Marketing intern