UConn podcast Holistic Huskies promotes mental health awareness across campus

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College can be a stressful time. Balancing academics, unexpected life events, maintaining relationships, focusing on health and learning to love yourself are all happening simultaneously in an environment that was only introduced recently, and that’s only half the list. The University of Connecticut’s podcast Holistic Huskies focuses on bringing awareness to student’s mental health across campus. The podcast was created by UConn students Serena Verma, Roger Watrous and Victoria DeTrolio in the spring of 2020.  

“This project began as a way to showcase stories of those without a voice, fight stigma against conversation around mental health and build genuine support and connection among students,” said third-semester finance student Alyssa Pelletier.  

While there are many resources available around campus for mental health, the podcast gives students a convenient forum to share their stories and bond over communal struggles.  

“A podcast allows for people to listen to mental health stories at their convenience, and is a good way to absorb information,” said sixth-semester physiology and neurobiology major Areej Sayeed. “They allow people to directly speak on topics that are important to them on a first-hand basis.”  

Verma, Watrous and DeTrolio founded the podcast during the pandemic, which proved to be challenging. However, there were many rewarding moments as well.  

“The most rewarding aspect of the podcast is meeting the different communities and learning about their perspectives on mental health and its impact at UConn,” said Pelletier.  

Together the Holistic Huskies team works together to bring “light to real mental health stories of students and faculty at UConn,” according to Sayeed.  

Conversations surrounding mental health have always been important, but especially are now, after the COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on mental health across the globe.  

“Discussing mental health is important to fight the stigma surrounding the topic, and to start conversations that people have always felt were important to have, but may have been hesitant to have them in the past,” said Pelletier.  

Holistic Huskies’ third podcast episode, “Corona Control Freaks: Psychologist Dr. Park’s Pandemic Wellness Tips,” gave listeners an opportunity to learn about how they may be able to improve their mental health while in a pandemic. Dr. Park gave tips ranging from staying connected to taking control on what one can do. She described one of the most stressful parts of the pandemic as feeling that you are losing control, so finding those things that one still can control could be very beneficial. Dr. Park also shed light on the importance of new routines, which I believe is still very beneficial now, as we are beginning to phase out of the pandemic.  

Other episodes touch upon losing a loved one, being a single parent, faith and more.  

The Holistic Huskies team is hoping to crank out regular content beginning next spring and bring even  

more light to the stigma surrounding mental health, so check out their Spotify and website. Students can even apply to be featured on the podcast.

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