On Saturday, November 7, 2020, forty (40) undergraduate and health professional 2020 – 2021 Health Careers Ambassador Program students participated in a much-anticipated virtual and interactive Stress Management Workshop led by Katie Zimmerman - Project Coordinator representing The Kim Foundation® (located in Omaha, Nebraska) a non-profit organization which increases awareness, reduces stigma and provides education and resources related to mental illness, mental health, and suicide prevention. The mission of The Kim Foundation® is to connect individuals to resources while promoting a community free of suicide that embraces the importance of quality mental health services and prevention.
In a time where the world is in the midst of a global pandemic, individuals are experiencing some mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, stress and mood disorders. Mental health issues can affect a student's energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism which in turn affects the student’s academic performance. In addition, mental health issues can affect many areas of students’ lives, reducing their quality of life, academic achievement, physical health, and satisfaction with the high school/college experience, and negatively impact relationships with friends and family members. These issues can also have long-term consequences for students, affecting their future employment, earning potential, and overall health.
During the session, students had the opportunity to learn about mindfulness, meditation, identify the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues among peers and family members, etc. Students and the HCOP staff also had the opportunity to put theory into practice and partake in a virtual mindfulness/meditation session which included several breathing techniques that have been known to be beneficial to the overall mental health and daily activities of an individual. The last portion of the session focused on suicide prevention which included demographical statistics, verbal/behavioral triggers, signs and symptoms of depression, contact resources, and much more.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has taken a toll on many of us; however, with workshops like this, students are able to renew, revive and rejuvenate not just their bodies but their minds as well.