Rocky Topics series continues with intersection of mental health, student leadership

The Office of the Dean of Students hosted another Rocky Topics session. Students gathered to discuss the intersection of student leadership and mental health.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Office of the Dean of Students kicked off another Rocky Topics session on Oct. 2 at the Student Union.

Rocky Topics is an ongoing series of open dialogue sessions and part of the Vol is a Verb Campaign. Rocky Topics began the spring semester of the 2018-2019 school year.

The topic of this session was the intersection of mental health and student leadership.

Furthermore, attendees interacted with student leaders and faculty members to discuss how student leadership can affect mental health.

UT Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Dean of Students Dr. Shea Kidd-Houze and Associate Professor of the psychology department Dr. Joe Miles mediated the event.

“[Rocky Topics are] topics people want to talk about but don’t know how to start,” Kidd-Houze said. “[The] goal was for students to have an outlet.”

During the event, students broke into small groups to discuss the topic. Several students shared their own experiences in leadership positions and how they feel it impacted their mental state.

The session was brimming with conversations led mostly by students for the majority of the time.

UT senior and Student Body Vice President of the Student Government Association Isaac Holt commented on the event’s impact:

“[Rocky Topics is] really impactful. You build consciousness and awareness of different perspectives,” Holt said.

Additionally, the session featured a Ted Talk by Brené Brown on the topic of vulnerability.

Students shared what makes them feel vulnerable and addressed how they deal with that vulnerability. In addition, they also discussed self-compassion. 

“Everybody has worth and value,” Associate Dean of Students Kelly Rubin said. “If we can find ways to talk to one another we can support each other.”

Kidd-Houz and Miles concluded the session by providing a list of resources that students can use when struggling with their mental health.

The resources ranged from on-campus support such as the UT Counseling Center as well as apps for meditation and relaxation such as Headspace.

The next Rocky Topics session will be on Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. in the Student Union. The topic will be about religion and sexual orientation.

Edited by Ciera Noe and Grace Goodacre

Featured image courtesy of the Office of the Dean of Student’s Twitter (@UTKDOS)

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