Keeping your paws germ-free

Julia Bagnata, News Editor

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An increasing amount of university students are being diagnosed with mental health issues each year. Combining that with the physical ailments spreading around campus, it is easy for students to feel overwhelmed. Many students are simply not aware of the resources this campus has to offer to provide them with support; Healthy Husky is looking to change that.

Formed in 2015, Healthy Husky represents Bloomsburg University’s Health and Wellness initiative, looking to support students through both physical and mental health concerns.

Because health has such a strong impact on student success, it’s colleges and universities are now focusing on, said Health and Wellness Educator Kristi Hammaker.

According to a National Collegiate Health Assessment performed by the American College Health Association, there are five major factors that affect the success of students on campuses. These include stress, sleep issues, anxiety, physical ailments such as the fly, and the ability to balance different aspects of student life. For this reason, Hammaker says, a majority of Healthy Husky’s programs center around helping students in these areas.
One such event taking place tonight is “Students talking to Students-A Discussion about the Weekend.” This event provides students with an opportunity to hear from other students who have faced the negative affects of alcohol abuse, from citations and arrests to possible health consequences. This event aims to provide everyone with a positive experience and is taking place in McCormick room 2303 at 7:30 p.m.

Looking ahead to the upcoming month of October, there will be a number of events focusing on both physical and mental health.

Kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there will be a Pink Party held in the KUB Multicultural Center. This experience will include a presentation on the importance of breast health, and will demonstrate how to self-examine for signs and symptoms of breast cancer; food and refreshments will also be served at this event, which takes place on Monday, Oct. 8 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Later in the month, free flu shot clinics are being held in KUB Multipurpose room B on Thursday, Oct. 11 and Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

There are still myths surrounding the flu shot, says Hammaker. One myth is that the flu shot gives you the flu. It may make you feel ill as an immune response to the shot, says Hammaker, but the actual flu is much worse than the feeling after the shot.

Last year, even though the flu shot was not as effective, it was still able to alleviate severe symptoms. Getting the flu shot is especially important in the communal environment found on college campuses, where you interact with many different people on a regular basis.

Those with chronic conditions should certainly consider getting a flu shot, says Hammaker, and there are doses available right for those with such conditions that can’t wait until the date of the clinic.

Additionally, there will be Free STD Testing provided on Friday, Oct. 26 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. courtesy of Caring Communities, a non-profit that provides free and confidential HIV/STD testing, case management services, and community education multiple counties throughout Pa.

At the clinic, students who bring their student ID can be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, the most prevalent STDs on college campuses. Students can also be screened for HIV if they are concerned about a high-risk sexual encounter.

Focusing on the mental aspect of student health, Mental Health Awareness week is taking place from Oct 15-Oct. 19 in collaboration with the McDowell Institute through the College of Education.

Leading up to this event, Active Minds is holding open meeting on both Oct. 3 and Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in KUB room 226. The group’s slogan is “Changing the Conversation about Mental Health,” as they want to educate the campus community and reduce stigma around seeking help for mental illness.

Notably, the Mental Health Awareness Fair is being held on Thursday, Oct. 18th from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the Academic Quad. This event, in collaboration with the McDowell Institute and other organizations, will provide students with important messages about mental health. The fair also includes pet therapy, a butterfly tent, yoga and meditation, games, and food.

On the same day from 6-8 p.m. a speaker will be presenting from Minding your Mind, a group whose goal is to educate the public on mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it. This event is being held in KUB room 230.

On Friday, Oct 19, The Women’s Resource Center is holding “Feel Good Friday” from 12-4 p.m., providing a safe and comfortable environment for students looking to relieve stress.

Finally, “Stress Less with Pets” pet therapy will again be held in the Student Services Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., giving students an opportunity to relieve stress while playing with dogs.

For Bloomsburg students looking to get involved with promoting health and wellness to other students, there is Husky PAWS. Husky PAWS (Peer Assisted Wellness Services) are a mix of volunteer and paid peer health educators on campus. These students undergo extensive training to ensure that they are knowledgeable on many areas surrounding health and wellness, undergoing NASPA/BACCHUS curriculum to become certified peer educators.

PAWS give different types of presentations for classes, Greek life, and student athletes, and they also collaborate with CAs in the residence halls on campus, assisting them with health and wellness programming for students.

If you are a dedicated student seeking to become a part of Husky PAWS, or a member of a campus organization hoping to set up an event related to health and wellness, Kristi Hammaker can be contacted at [email protected]