The Mental Health Postvention Task Force, in their effort to proactively and preventively manage the next phase of response to the pandemic, have collaborated with university experts to dive deeper into the important issues surrounding COVID-19, and to provide resources for coping during this time.

A pink flower

A Case for Gratitude

Tuesday, May 10, 2022
I’ve read these articles before. “Times are tough. Focus on the positive. You'll get though, you always do.” Sure, it might be a winning argument because those who don’t aren’t going to argue with you. But I didn’t think that was the message we needed, and it wasn’t the message I needed.
Two speech bubbles with different patterns

The Power of Conversation: When Talk Turns Tough

Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Having a conversation with confidence and a clear understanding of what was said and shared is familiar; yet when following up, confusion and uncertainty can exist. We might say or hear, “That’s not what you said,” or “I did what we discussed,” or “That’s not true.”
Group of five people standing next to each other

Connection is key in moving forward post pandemic

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic ripped apart all sense of normalcy for many people. Data shows a rise in addictive behaviors since March 2020 as people saw drastic increases in stress and isolation. Stress and isolation are risk factors for increased alcohol consumption, other substance use, and maladaptive coping, such as other process addictions, which include eating or shopping. The brain seeks pleasure from the chemical dopamine that is produced through connection and enjoyable things, but in the absence of positive stimuli, the brain seeks out pleasure, including alcohol or other substances.
American flags on the Pentacrest

Fostering Veteran Community

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
As a member of the Air National Guard, a student at the University of Iowa, and someone who works in the area of veteran support, I have seen first-hand the effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on our veteran and military-connected (VMC) community. While no two people’s experiences of the pandemic have been the same, one defining feature that lockdown had on the VMC community was loss.
photo of burnt forest

Burnout: Disturbance and succession

Monday, April 11, 2022
Disturbances alter the state and trajectory of an ecosystem and can shape ecosystem dynamics long into the future. This is particularly the case for disturbances that are large, severe, and infrequent that capture the public attention and challenge our understanding of an ecosystem. I see the disturbance of the COVID-19 pandemic creating similar damage and challenges to our human ecosystem. This disturbance has been large, severe, and infrequent.
Third annual Roll Bounce, a Black History Month event, in the IMU 2nd floor ballroom celebrating black heritage, history, and culture.

Navigating cultural spaces, different than your own

Tuesday, April 5, 2022
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cultural humility as, “a lifelong process of self-reflection and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but one starts with an examination of their own beliefs and cultural identities.”
In This Together video opener

In This Together

Tuesday, March 29, 2022
During the fall semester, the Mental Health Postvention Task Force spoke with members of the UI community about their experiences during the pandemic, and asked what advice they have for other Hawkeyes that may still be struggling. These are their stories.
balloons with smiley faces

Reframing focusing on the positive

Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Practicing positivity can lower stress, improve physical health, yield healthier relationships, and more. I am drawn to books, articles, and podcasts that provide practical strategies for reframing my outlook and perceptions in ways that support my wellness and healthy relationships with others. There is no shortage of strategies. Strategies such as these worked for me at various life stages—until March 2020.
a heron resting on the water

Grace and patience

Monday, March 21, 2022
Grace, the experience of gifts freely given, is ever present; it’s the body breathing, and the heart beating, it is seeing, tasting, smelling, touching, and feeling (emotion), thinking, and it is language and speech, listening, laughter, kindness, generosity and gratitude, and it is the awareness that knows in and through all these and more. “Resting” in grace requires patience, the ability to stay and attend long enough to receive and savor what has been freely given.
Woman working and laughing

Revive meaning in work with mindful actions, attitudes

Monday, March 7, 2022
Our success at work is often measured by metrics of productivity and efficiency, with working faster, longer, and harder sometimes presumed to be their own reward. Work also can be entangled with status judgments, in which our answer to, “What do you do?” brings a loaded assessment of our importance by another’s standards. Our work is not only about what we do or how fast we do it. It is also about who we are and choose to be. It is about the deep meaningfulness of our individual stories, values, and self-understanding.
scrabble letters that read "done is better than perfect"

Navigating perfectionism in teaching and learning

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Concerns around well-being affect learning, teaching, academic service, and overall work experience for many individuals and make it especially tough for those who measure their self-worth based on their success and achievement, as it is more difficult to attain high standards during times of distress and unpredictability.   
Person riding a bike into a sunset

Tips for rethinking, reinventing our future selves

Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Times of transition and adjustment can also be times to rethink and reinvent. Positive change starts with valuing our own selves and wanting something better. Positive goals help us shift our attention back to ourselves. Now is a great time to contemplate, imagine, and plan what kind of future you’d like to see.
Image of someone doing their taxes

If you're adulting and you know: Clap your hands!

Monday, February 14, 2022
A common concern for our young adults is what has been termed “adulting.” Adulting encompasses the responsibilities, sometimes mundane, one must take on and manage as an adult. This can be everything from paying taxes, to buying a refrigerator, to becoming someone’s boss, to making a doctor’s appointment (and going to it), to following a budget, to simply staying home on a Friday night.
person sitting on couch with computer and coffee

Work and life balance: A student perspective

Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Work-life balance (WLB) by definition is an individual’s ability to meet their work and family commitments, as well as other non-work responsibilities. However, this definition has a problem; we don’t often put mental health as a responsibility in our lives. Managing responsibilities is good practice for our lives, but leaving out our mental health can have dire consequences.
Student using a light for SAD

Why so sad? Shedding light on SAD.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022
As the pandemic marches on, and our work and play remain restricted, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is likely darkening the outlook for some of us within the University of Iowa community.
woman in a field looking at her reflection

Taking stock and summarizing the semester: Engaging in self-reflective practice

Monday, January 24, 2022
The practice of self-reflection is our ability to “turn our attention inward to consider our own thoughts, memories, feelings, and actions.” (Philippi & Koenigs, 2014, p. 56) It is a productive evaluation of what is working in your life and what is not, what emotions you are experiencing, and what physical sensations you have in response to memories, thoughts, and emotions. Self-reflective practice uses an “observer stance,” through the use of curiosity and self-compassion, taking a non-judgmental perspective toward yourself.
painting of a woman's face with multiple paint colors

COVID-19, who am I?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Do you remember your first car? Your first kiss? Your first heartbreak? The first sense of accomplishment that you felt really proud of, like high school graduation? First job? Placing at state for a sport or program? Your first failure? The first time you didn’t feel like part of the group?

These are all examples of how experiences prompt identity change.
fruits and vegetables at a farmers market

Basic Needs are fundamental to mental health and well-being

Monday, December 13, 2021
Basic needs go beyond being able to afford food; they’re defined by the Hope Center as including  a student’s “access to nutritious and sufficient food; safe, secure, and adequate housing—to sleep, to study, to cook, and to shower; healthcare to promote sustained mental and physical well-being; affordable technology and transportation; resources for personal hygiene; and childcare and related needs.”
image of locking up your computer, phone, book with a chain

Setting boundaries improves work-life balance, mental health

Tuesday, December 7, 2021
The distance between my work and my personal life has become increasingly smaller during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lines between home and work are blurred for me.
grateful sign being held up

How to become a gratitude leader: Infusing gratitude into your organization

We now find ourselves in a collective, global disaster of sorts with COVID-19. Navigating the pandemic has challenged us all, though it has affected some more than others. In many ways, it has shone a spotlight on existing social and economic inequities, as disasters do. Some also have linked COVID-19 to a phenomenon dubbed “the great resignation,” whereby people are voluntarily leaving the workplace in massive numbers. This seems to be a time when people are evaluating their sense of meaning in life, including what work means to them. Given this context, how can we foster a sense of meaning within the workplace and other organizations?