READERS PLEASE NOTE: This article was published
Ryerson students made homemade Valentine’s Day cards for children at SickKids hospital on Tuesday.
Ryerson Students for Mental Awareness, Support & Health (SMASH), a mental health group on campus, hosted “Spread the Love,” an event where students could de-stress by making Valentine’s Day cards for children in the hospital. The group handed out about 40 cards.
“We were just thinking that it’s nice to give them something positive to look at on the hospital walls during the season. To give them some love as well, during the Valentine’s Day season,” says Calandra Muller, who planned the event.
For Javeria Maqsood, a member of SMASH, the event was an opportunity to make someone else’s day a little better.
“I think (it’s) a very kind and sweet thing, that people are taking time out of their busy week schedule to spread love and joy to people who might not have that, or who might not feel that on a day when they are in a hospital,” she says.
SMASH often tries to bring awareness about mental health to campus. Their event planner, Gavin Tran, says that the group is a safe place for students to talk to someone about their mental health problems and find a way to deal with stress.
This time of year is especially stressful for students, says Muller. Leading up to midterms there’s a lot going on, she said, explaining that the group tries to provide outlets, like this event, to help students through difficult times.
The idea that art helps to reduce stress is well-founded. A study from the American Art Therapy Association says that doing just 45 minutes of art, even without any skill, can reduce anxiety levels throughout the body.
“The more you colour, the more you sit down and put your creativity and thought into paper, it helps you relieve your stress and relieve your mind of anything that’s going on,” said Maqsood.
That is something that third-year interior design student Mirijam Bruening agrees with. “I think it is a great way, actually, to relieve stress and just get your mind off things and just feel better.”