Kent State of Wellness presents week of health forums

Nicole Zahn

Kent State of Wellness hosted its first week of health and wellness open forums for the university.

The forums consisted of Alcohol & Other Drugs, Mental Health, Nutrition, Physical Activity, Preventive Care, Safety, Sexual health and Smoking & Tobacco Use.

Kent State of Wellness is one of Kent State’s university-level initiatives among the strategic roadmap. The initiative seeks to create a culture of health and wellness for students and employees at all Kent State campuses.

The All 8 Health Priorities Campus Engagement Forums were held Wednesday, and provided students with information regarding the health forums. The forums also gave students the chance to five their on opinions about them.

Priority areas were being identified to encourage changes to university policies, the environment and individual behavior.

“One of the first steps for the forum was to understand what our baseline was,” said  Kent State of Wellness Director Angela DeJulius. “We wanted to share with the campus what we’ve done so far with health promotions and proposing strategies, and give students the chance to voice their opinions about them.”

Kent State of Wellness chose the eight topics it felt were most important for students to present.

“I attended the safety and sexual health forum on Monday,”  said Alexia Kloha, freshman pre-nursing major. “It was intriguing and neat to know what was happening behind the scenes and how the panel was working to make the campus safer, (as well as) how we could bring up our opinions.”

Due to the upcoming smoking ban that will be in effect July 1, 2017, smoking was the first topic to be addressed at the forum and the changes it will have on the university.

The second topic discussed — and created the most commentary — was mental health.

“If you don’t understand what’s going on with you mentally, it may lead to something negative,” said Elizabeth Garlinger, a senior communication studies major.

Kent State of Wellness expressed at the forum that many regional campuses have no mental health services. This initiative supports the areas where students may have more mental health needs than the university is unaware of.

DeJulius explained the JED Foundation to attendees of the forum, saying that it “exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults.”

Kent State of Wellness, along with the JED Foundation, has conducted an assessment to evaluate student health resources throughout the Kent State system.

Their goal is to implement more support for those with mental health and encourage others to realize the severity of the issue.

“One of my favorite parts about this forum was being able to put my opinions out on the table,” said Rachel Jones, a sophomore nursing major. “Usually when a university changes something on campus we don’t have a say in it, but with these sensitive topics I think it can be very powerful.”

The All 8 Health Priorities event ran from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30p.m. at the Student Center. All attendees were nursing majors interested in health initiatives across campus.

Nicole Zahn is the rec sports / wellness reporter, contact her at [email protected].