Making Notes on Mental Health: Friars Partake in Inside Out Week Talks
by Nicole Silverio ’22
In honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, the Concannon Fitness Center and Active Minds put together Inside Out Week to raise awareness and support for those who struggle with eating disorders.
To kick off the week, there was a Feel Good Yoga session in the morning in the Group Fitness Center, booths in Lower Slavin, and a kick-off event with guest Dayna Altman. Altman’s event offered pamphlets regarding information on eating disorders, as well as yogurt and fruit for the participants.
In ‘64 Hall, Altman, a former student at Providence College and author of the mental health cookbook Bake It Till You Make It: Breaking Bread, Building Resilience, spoke to an audience while baking one of her recipes. After struggling with her own mental health, Altman began project called Body Positivity. Regarding her project, she said, “I used a YouTube channel to spread our stories. Our story was used to help others and I feel that sense of responsibility and hope.”
While at the college, she struggled with her mental health immensely, to the point that she had contemplated suicide. She spent a period of time in a mental facility, which she claimed did not benefit her.
Afterwards, she returned to PC with the same suicidal thoughts. She said, “I used school and grades to validate my worth, but when I saw that I failed a test I went into the bathroom to end my life. I’m so grateful that I called my mom and went on medical leave.”
While on medical leave, she began seeing a therapist named Deana who she regarded as being “the person who had changed my life more than anyone else.” When her medical leave ended, she transferred to Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
At Northeastern, Altman attended a 10-day school trip to Israel where she was sexually assaulted, deteriorating the healthy mental state she had worked hard to build. After returning to campus, she began a movement called Fashion in Action. Altman, fellow peers, and professors collected 800 articles of clothing which they donated to rape crisis shelters. This organization continues at Northeastern today, leaving behind her legacy.
Today, Altman works at a non-profit called Girls Inc. helping young girls to cope with their mental health. Currently, she is working on a children’s mental health book inspired by her work at Girls Inc. She read the audience passages of her published book, containing recipes and stories of 45 people telling their mental health stories. The most notable story was her grandmother’s, who described her experience of grief after losing her husband.
After being married for 50 years and working at the same company as her husband, she had spent practically every moment by his side, so losing him took a major toll on her mental state. Her story mentioned that everyone handles grief in different ways; some remarry, some remember the good times, some grieve for the rest of their lives. The message of her story was that there is no shame in the way a person handles their feelings, as every person handles it differently. Altman’s cookbook consisted of stories of people from different backgrounds and experiences, nevertheless spreading a moving message to those who may be suffering.
Throughout the week, Peterson will be hosting self-acceptance and mental health workshops to inspire students to accept themselves and help loved ones who may struggle with an eating disorder. Altman served as an example of the possibility of overcoming these struggles with the right awareness and support. Altman and the Inside Out events happening on campus this week strive to spread that same message.
Working on Yourself Inside and Out: PC Holds Week Full of Events to Promote Student Health
by Malena Aylwin ’22
One of the major concerns on all college campuses in the U.S. is that students are not spending enough time on their own mental and physical health.
Beginning on Feb. 4 and ending Feb. 8, Providence College is holding activities to promote both mental and physical health awareness, “cultivating self-care from the Inside Out,” as the advertisment states.
Inside Out events are lasting throughout the week with different activities every day and hour. The main goal of the week is to educate PC students on mental and physical awareness, done through various activities, all revolving around tips and tricks on how to reduce stress, exercise, and more.
Some activities people can get involved in include the Embody Love workshop, spINTENTION cycling, meditation, yoga classes, and Motherland dance workshops, among others.
There are also special activities with free giveaways, such as milkshakes, PC hats, scarves, and mugs.
Another activity is making your own personalized set of coasters while indulging in a delicious, gourmet cupcake from Wildflour Bakery, which includes vegan options, as well.
Participants of these events received tracking cards to earn points throughout the week, helping them win awards by the end of the week. At the end of each activity, trainers punched the person’s card.
Anyone that earned eight points could also trade in their card for a journal at the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. booths on Thursday or Friday.
Fatima Velasquez ’22 talked about her experience with Inside Out week, saying, “I went to some of the activities held this week and was very impressed. I was very inspired by the awareness brought towards self-care here at PC. The classes were a little challenging at first, but once you get the hang of them you realize how beneficial they are.”
Katrina Ursino ’22 also commented on Inside Out week, saying, “I love meditating and yoga, and I find them so helpful when I am stressed. I love that PC is spreading awareness because mental and physical health is such a big part of college students [lives].”