Letters to the Editor: The Power of Mirrors;  mental health resources for students;  gift guides included

Letters to the Editor: The Power of Mirrors; mental health resources for students; gift guides included

Ilene Flax: Dance: Mirrors derive their power from users; look with love

Kate Encelewski’s letter lamenting the impacts of mirrors in the dance studio has resonated, and I hope her teachers are receptive and responsive. Please keep in mind that mirrors are tools that depend on their users for their power and only provide reflections. Some tips:

• Train yourself to look at yourself with love and respect: it will be contagious.

• Observe your alignment to engage your inner power and confidence.

• Ignore visions of consumer culture that feed on your feelings of inadequacy. Soften your gaze and blur them with your experience because they do not serve you.

• Focus on the joy that comes from moving in unison with a group of dancers, physically connected by sound to each other and beyond.

Because dance engages a sensitivity to those around us, it can support a culture of criticism. This same sensitivity can be a powerful force in helping each other find our strengths. Happy dancing!

Ilene Lin, Boulder

Delaney Rose: Mental health: resources should be easier for students to access

Mental health among students has recently become a growing problem. The college transition is notorious for being a difficult time in the lives of freshmen, which takes a toll on their mental health. According to the Healthy Minds study, “In the 2020-2021 school year, more than 60% of students met the criteria for at least one mental health condition.”

I personally felt that coming to college, especially coming from out of state. I had a lot of stress and anxiety as well as a lot of depression-related symptoms. This got me interested in the question: why aren’t students seeking mental health help and what are universities doing to help students with mental health?

After doing some research, I found that there are many different reasons why students don’t get help. Some of them include not wanting to admit you need help, not knowing where to go for help, and being embarrassed to need help. However, the main reason was that people felt they could manage their mental health issues on their own.

When it comes to CU Boulder’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), they offer many different options for help. However, they have limited resources and staff, so it takes a long time to get an appointment. Students usually have to wait days or even weeks for help. Also, the appointment scheduling process is very confusing, which deters many students from getting help. That being said, universities need to improve their mental health programs and create a smoother process so students can get the help they need. One way to do this is to hire more staff so students don’t have to wait so long for an appointment. Additionally, adding a texting service could also make it easier for students to get quick help. By simply adding these simple changes, more students can get the help they need to improve their mental health.

Delaney Rose, Boulder

Sean Dougherty: Holiday shopping: gift guides should strive to be more inclusive

Why are waffle knit towels for men or bonsai trees for women? Those of us grounded in reality might reply, “They are not; they are for everyone! However, editors of popular holiday gift guides are still unconvinced.

Every holiday season, companies compete for their slice of the lucrative gift pie. Holiday gift guides, the most popular of which are published annually by well-known magazines, have a significant influence on gift shopping. Sometimes companies pay upfront to “sponsor” a guide, guaranteeing that they will introduce their product. Apparently more often, publishers instead select products independently and use special referral links so that for each click and purchase they receive a small commission. Either way, it’s safe to say that publishers have an incentive to maximize the influence of their holiday gift guides.

Gift guides are usually organized into subcategories like “for her” and “for him.” On the surface, these are a perfect cure for “gift block”; their suggestions, after all, are tailored to the hypothetical recipient — or at least their gender. In contrast, many guides are instead categorized by interests such as “outdoors and travel” and “self-care.”

When the goal is to maximize profit, it makes sense to divide these guides by gender; with just two listings, publishers can offer so-called personalized gifts for virtually anyone. (Non-binary people are largely ignored—rarely, if ever, does a “for them” gift guide appear next to “for her” and “for him.”)

But if the goal is to wow someone with a personal and thoughtful gift, you have to look beyond the gender of the recipient for inspiration. This holiday season and in the future, we should all give gifts more thoughtfully by avoiding gender-specific gift guides in favor of guides that reflect recipients’ unique personalities and interests. Our loved ones, non-binary people, and society as a whole will benefit.

Sean Dougherty, Chattanooga, TN

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