UT Wellness Week highlights mental health resources before finals

Aria Jones

As finals approach, student organizations have created a week to address the mental health of students.

Neuroscience junior Bilal Haque said the Undergraduate Business Council, Natural Sciences Council, Communication Council, Liberal Arts Council, Social Work Council and UT Senate of College Councils are collaborating for the first time to program UT Wellness Week.

Haque, professional development chair of the Natural Sciences Council, said the councils organized events throughout the week with CARE counselors, free fitness classes, therapy dogs, group Zumba and yoga classes. In addition to the collaborative events, Haque said each council individually organized events targeted toward their college.

Ava Mouton-Johnston, community service chair for the business council, said each council can address mental health issues and stressors in their specific schools while also having a larger impact. She said while the mental health resources at the University are very helpful, there could be more services which cater to the entire student body. 

Mouton-Johnston, a Plan II business honors sophomore, said the councils are working to start conversations about mental health to figure out what students need.

“The experts in these conversations regarding mental health are the students themselves in the sense that they’re the people going through it,” Mouton-Johnston said.

Nikhil Baliga, the mental health task force chair for the business council, said the council will be hosting a coffee chat for students Monday and sharing feedback with the University. He said the council will collect information from students about mental health issues they would like discussed and resources they would like to see in their college. 

Baliga, a management information systems sophomore, said he sees students at McCombs that are involved in several extracurricular activities and internships. He said these students can sometimes define themselves by their accomplishments.

“When you get to this point of overcommitment and spread yourself too thin, it makes your mental health decline,” Baliga said. “You’re just not prioritizing yourself because you’re trying to prioritize too many other things.”

Haque said the councils chose to have this event now so students can address their mental health before the holidays and finals week.

“Get yourself in a positive mood,” Haque said. “Reflect on your mental health, because in the midst of finals week, it’s hard to be like, ‘OK, I’ve got to work on my mental health and everything’s going to be okay,’ especially when you’re drowning in work.”