The outside of the Walter J. Hawrys Campus Recreation Center on Jan. 26. CPO hosted a First Night Out Event on self-care at the recreation center. RABIA GURSOY/THE STATESMAN

On Jan. 25, the Center for Prevention and Outreach (CPO) hosted a First Night Out Event that focused on self-care and resilience at the Campus Recreation Center. First Night Out events take place at the beginning of each semester and are an attempt to connect and encourage incoming students to look forward to the semester ahead. 

CPO offers Stony Brook students “a wide range of services to address student concerns about mental health, alcohol and other substances, healthy relationships and sexual violence.”

Senior health science major Vivien Llanes is the alcohol and other drug outreach assistant for CPO. According to Llanes, First Night Out’s goal was to “cater to all the new transfer students, especially freshmen, and all the other students who are looking for something to do.”

There are stigmas surrounding mental health including the belief that people rarely experience mental health issues, but CPO says 1 in 5 people experience mental illness in a given year. An article by Stanford University finds that basic needs, like getting enough sleep and drinking enough water, need to be met in order for students to continue to be successful. 

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As a senior, Llanes understands the importance of self-care, specifically for Stony Brook students. Although Llanes previously struggled, she says “I got better with my time management and also by asking other people for help. It’s ok to go to your professors for help; it’s ok to tell your boss that you need a day off.”

Senior sociology major Jenna Santiago is also an intern for CPO and wanted students to walk away from the event knowing the vast importance of mental health. 

“Just know that you and your mental health are important so if you feel like you’re really stressed out just take a minute, take a breather, talk to a friend or even take a nap. Do whatever you need to do because your mental health is more important than getting a good grade or impressing someone. Sometimes you need to just be selfish and that’s good.”

This need for virtuous selfishness seemed to be popular among the First Night Out attendees. Transfer student Jessica Strong is a sophomore business major who is looking forward to the semester ahead and understands that self-care will be a big part of her success at Stony Brook. 

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“I spend more time on [other] people than I do on myself and that gets in the way of a lot of things like my plans and my goals. I tend to put that to the side when it comes to other people but it’s all about time management and I’m working on that.”

The Student Health, Wellness and Prevention Services’ website offers students a clear list of the resources on campus that are integral to the community of care at Stony Brook. From mental to physical health, all students have access to these helpful outlets.

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