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The Indiana Daily Student

campus jacobs school of music

Jacobs School of Music offers new mental health resource

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The Jacobs School of Music launched its new mental health resource, the Office of Wellness and Arts Health Initiatives (OWAHI), last semester.  

By holding weekly wellness events, offering complimentary snacks in Merrill Hall and functioning as a safe space for students, the office hopes to improve the mental well-being of Jacobs students. The office also hosts guest speakers and financial wellness coaching. The office also partnered with the School of Social Work to provide group and personal wellness coaching.  

“When we say wellness, we really mean everything,” OWAHI Coordinator and Associate Professor of Music Education Frank Diaz said.  

The office was born from the Jacobs Health and Wellness Committee in response to a reported uptick in student mental health concerns after the pandemic. Through his student survey and working on the committee, Diaz noted students often dealt with loneliness.  

“A big part of what we're trying to do is build community here, get people together and find different reasons for us to do things,” Diaz said. 

Sixth-year ethnomusicology student Yoav Hayut, a regular attendee of the office’s first semester events, said he hopes more students learn about the office. 

“I think a lot of teachers want their students to be healthy and happy but don't know what the schools are doing to promote that, and right now, Jacobs is doing a lot to do that,” Hayut said. 

After taking a gap year during the pandemic, Hayut returned to IU to finish his original music education degree. Hayut’s journey involved roadblocks and detours. After his student teaching experience in the music education program, Hayut decided to change majors. He said he has experienced imposter syndrome while at IU as well. 

 “A lot of problems with music happen in every field that you see in every department,” Hayut said. “But the music they're creating is tied to their sense of self-worth and especially going to a school for music like you're learning that.” 

Second-year graduate student Alana Mossell, who is pursuing a Master of Music in viola performance, felt similarly about the interconnection of music and mental health. 

“In the music field, because of the competitiveness, but also the collaborativeness, it's just hard to kind of talk about it amongst other people,” she said. “But in terms of shared perspective, it's very clear that we all have this.”  

Mossell studies in Bloomington while her parents care for her daughter in her hometown of Portage, IN.  

“The office of wellness providing a weekly mindfulness moment was really important for me last semester," Mossell said. “I struggled with being away from my child, especially as a single parent.”  

As the office continues to try to change the stigma surrounding mental health in the music field, Diaz hopes to expand the wellness facilities even more.  

“Eventually, what we want to do is develop partnerships out of this where students go out into the community and kind of think of wellbeing as related to service,” Diaz said. 

Diaz also said he hopes the office can convey that students are supported and have a place to thrive instead of just surviving.  

The office continues its weekly wellness drop-ins on Wednesday between 1:00 and 2:30 p.m. in the Musical Arts Center lobby. 

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