New mental wellness resource on campus
By Tia Broz
May 10, 2023
Faculty, staff, students and even visitors who need to take a break, be alone or decompress are encouraged to use a new Mental Wellness Resource Room in University Hall Room 2055 on the Indianapolis campus.
“It’s intended to be a place of comfort, where people know they can go when they need it,” said Devina Jani, director of career services at the IU School of Social Work.
The room includes snacks, cushioned chairs, a yoga mat, fidget toys and pamphlets about managing stress, anxiety and other issues.
Jani, who led the creation of the room, observed a need for such a space even before the pandemic.
“The idea stemmed from having an ear to the ground, and just watching the behaviors of not only the students, but noticing our faculty and staff feel like they’re at capacity all the time,” Jani said.
“The eight dimensions of wellness, which include emotional and mental well-being, are very vital to the work that we do, especially in social work. We experience burnout, secondary trauma, compassion fatigue. All of these things can be emotionally draining in a field that we love. So, it’s really important to promote self-care.”
The room opened in March with support from IU School of Social Work leaders, including Dean Tamara Davis, the IU School of Social Work Alumni Association, the Indianapolis Zen Center and several students.
A lot of thought and research went into making the room a peaceful space. Colors, lighting, artwork and other imagery were intentionally chosen to elicit calm feelings and create positive energy.
The Mental Wellness Resource Room is open Monday through Friday. It’s unlocked in the morning and locked in the evening when facilities crews get to the building, so hours vary.
The room is one option, in addition to the many university-wide mental health resources for employees and students, that aims to meet people where they are mentally or emotionally.
“I just wanted to give individuals a brave space where they feel like they can be vulnerable, whatever that means and looks like for them,” Jani said.
“The door is open. The room is for everyone. Please use it. The worst thing that can happen is that individuals don’t know that they have this space.”
Tia Broz is a communications consultant in the Office of the Vice President for Communications and Marketing.