Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services and social work instructor Darnell Lewis spoke about mental health and the importance of self care with students on Oct. 25.
Lewis got his bachelor’s degree in social work and his master’s of social work degree from the University of Michigan. He has also worked as a clinical therapist, a social worker in a boy’s foster care home and in a boy’s juvenile detention facility.
Because of his experience in this field, he takes mental health very seriously.
“I do what I can to spread awareness to remove that stigma around mental health because it is very very important,” Lewis said.
A video about how important mental strength is to your physical strength was shown to the audience for them to reflect on. Eric Thomson was the speaker in the video, and he emphasized that “mental health is motivation.”
Lewis related mental health relevance to his audience, who were all college students. He believes that during this age, there’s a lot to juggle, and it gets difficult to handle it all. In order to succeed, students have to pay attention to their mental state.
“You have to prioritize, have that balance and know your limits,” Lewis said.
This was an eye-opening moment for some members of the audience who realized how much they were taking on and how it is affecting their mental health.
“[I will] actually limit down what I’m doing… and take those breaks [to improve my mental health],” pre-pharmacy freshman Rachel Hossler said.
Lewis shared his personal experiences with taking on too much with his audience. He emphasized the need to say no to certain things and not take on too much at one time. The whole group spent time talking about their feelings and relating with each other.
Self care is a healthy way to better your emotional and mental state. Lewis suggests taking a mental health day when you “need a break from everything.” He takes his own advice by clearing out his schedule to grab something to eat, listen to music and spend time with his loved ones.
During this event, students were able to learn from each other and discover more ways to take care of themselves. It worked as a healthy outlet to get those feelings out there.
“It is important to be healthy in all aspects of life… You [have] to be healthy mentally [in order] to be able to be healthy in every other way,” criminal justice freshman Adam Ziots said.
Students in attendance were able to take away Lewis’ final piece of advice, which was to find a motivator to help with your mental health. This will help them find “something that you can utilize to push through when times get hard.”
Lewis highlighted some available on-campus resources for anyone who is struggling with their mental health. You can call the Personal Counseling Center at (231) 591-5968, or visit the upstairs of the Birkim Health Center.