Miami University students decompress during ‘Stress Less Week’

Participants of program taught to recognize signs of emotional distress, anxiety.

OXFORD — Students were invited into Miami University’s Armstrong Center this week to decompress from stress with the help of therapy dogs, games, massages, blood pressure checks and much more.

It’s all part of Miami’s “Stress Less Week” at the school’s main Oxford campus, which enrolls more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students, said school officials.

The week-long activities kicked off late Thursday afternoon and saw dozens of students turn out to chill out.

Miami senior Judy Zhou stepped away from a free sitting massage session more relaxed and grateful for the event— and other activities — sponsored by the university’s suicide prevention team and the student counseling service.

“That was really comfortable,” said Zhou, adding “this is going to relieve some stress from my finals that are coming.”

“This definitely helps a lot in dealing with stress,” she said.

Other activities at the student center kick-off included therapy dogs, snacks, games, journaling and messages of hope.

There were plenty of other resources and focused on helping students learn about managing stress, maintaining a healthy mind and active lifestyle, and enhancing community connection.

A relaxed student is a healthy more effective student, and that’s the goal school officials are reaching for this week, said Jennifer Young, Miami’s associate director for community engagement at the student counseling service.

“Stress less week is designed to both raise awareness and equip students with coping and helping behaviors,” said Young, who also chairs the school’s suicide prevention team.

“Participants will learn strategies to manage anxiety, recognize signs of emotional distress in friends, and identify ways to help.”

And the timing of the special week isn’t a coincidence, she said.

“We know that mid-to-late semester is a prime time for students to experience a lot of (academic) stress. This type of event is a great way for students to learn about stress management and to have fun while they are learning.”

Other activities at various locations on the campus will include: Do it yourself presentations on maintaining positive mental health; suicide prevention training and opportunities for drop-in mental health counseling.

For more information and a schedule of events, which are free, go to Miami’s Student Counseling Services’ website.

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