Mental Health Matters at IUS Summit


Madison A. Miller

What’s important in a healthy romance?




These are among the tips that Rose S., an IUS student, got this semester at an all-day mental health summit on campus. She attended a breakout session about healthy romantic relationships and how to improve them.

“It was a great ten tips, with advice,” said Rose, who declined to give her full name.

Another suggestion was to focus on “we” problems, rather than fixate on “you” problems, or in simpler terms, not making all the problems about just one person.

This breakout session that Rose attended was one of many at the event that addressed different aspects of mental health.

Dr. Michael Day, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at IUS, put the event together after receiving a federal government grant and getting help from several faculty members. Day said he wanted to provide a safe space for people on campus to talk about mental health because of violence against vulnerable and historically marginalized people since the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has the pandemic impacted mental health, he said, but so have widely publicized shootings of people of color, the LGBT+ community, religious groups, and children. Even Russia’s war in Ukraine takes a toll on Americans’ mental health, Day said.

At the IUS mental health event, a second breakout session dealt with racial trauma and imposter syndrome. Dr. Lucille Gardner, the session host and a Spalding University assistant professor of psychology, covered how both can cause doubt in students of color. She defined the issues, explained how they affect minority students, and explored interactions between racial trauma and imposter syndrome so that affected students can navigate through those difficulties.

At a third session, Day himself covered the different types of depression and ways that students can manage each of them.

IU alumnus Kyle Mitchell shared his story about social anxiety to help other people. He explained three steps he took, which he recommended for others: Shower yourself with love, complete slightly uncomfortable personal challenges, and reward yourself for efforts and progress made. Mitchell said he became a public speaker in order to share these sorts of tips.

Another breakout session was about coping with grief.

“I learned grief is just the loss of something or someone important,” said Megan B., who, like other IUS students, didn’t disclose her full name. “It can be losing a job, a loved one, or even a change. There isn’t a single way to heal. Grief is not linear; it can be more like a ball of yarn.”

She and other students heard how grief varies from one culture to another. In western cultures, grief is more prolonged because it’s more individualistic. Eastern cultures, however, tend to have shorter grieving periods because they’re more collectivist.

Yet another session focused on generalized anxiety, where a panel of IUS professors and students shared their experiences. Fine Arts—Graphic Design Lecturer Leslie Doyle explained how being a perfectionist at work or in school can fuel anxiety. Such a person might procrastinate to avoid anxiety over a project, for example. Because of stigma surrounding generalized anxiety, people typically struggle. An ironic barrier to seeking help is gender and gender identity; men and transgender people often don’t feel they deserve the help. Also, people may not seek out help because they mistakenly believe that treatment isn’t affordable.

Day, meanwhile, hopes to organize a mental health summit every spring semester to follow the annual “Out of Darkness” community walk in the fall that aims  to end suicide. Students battling mental health issues are encouraged to reach out to the IUS Department of Counseling and Psychological Services by phone at 812-941-2244 or email

The office is in UC 207 and its webpage is

But if you or someone close to you has suicidal thoughts and need support outside of office hours, call or text the national Suicide & Crisis Hotline 988 or chat online at