By: Jeana Quinlan
Rwenshaun Miller, a mental health counselor, spoke at a Zoom event on February 10th. The event, called In Living Color, focused on mental health and self-care strategies, particularly as they relate to students of color.
Miller discussed his own mental health struggles that he faced while adjusting to life at a large, predominantly-white university.
He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during his sophomore year and struggled to come to terms with it for several years, until starting an anonymous blog.
When he saw how much his blog was helping people, including his peers, he decided that he wanted to make it his mission to help others facing similar struggles.
Miller talked about some self-care strategies that he uses to take care of himself. He emphasized the importance of being conscious of the type of energy you surround yourself with, taking care of yourself before helping others, and finding healthy self-care strategies that work for you. Miller said that journaling and coloring are his favorite self-care activities.
“Learn yourself. That’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do,” said Miller.
Miller also talked about the importance of having conversations about mental health with friends.
“Don’t be afraid to figure out what your challenges are, then you can get in touch with what you need to be successful. You never know what people may be going through at a given time,” said Miller. “A lot of times we beat around the bush, but it’s important to know how you can support others.”
Though checking in on people is important, Coe staff also emphasized that they are a resource to talk to if you feel like a peer is struggling in ways that you are unable to help with.
“Talk to a staff member, don’t feel like you need to take on that,” said Keniese Evans, Coe’s Dean of Students.
Emily Barnard, one of Coe’s counselors, talked about some of the mental health resources that are available to students.
Barnard, along with Kathy Muller, are Student Care Coordinators. They can help students get connected with resources on campus or in the community.
“We want you to know that we are open-minded and we are here to help you,” said Barnard.
Barnard mentioned 2 resources that are available for emergency services at any time.
Foundation 2 Crisis Services can be reached at 319-362-2174 or 800-332-4224.
The Steve Fund connects people to a culturally trained Crisis Text Line counselor. The line can be reached by texting STEVE to 741741.