It’s On Us discusses mental health resources, self care at first meeting


Gracie Watt

It’s On Us invited members of SAFE Alliance and the HCC to talk about their services at their first chapter meeting. The representatives from SAFE Alliance were Natalie Busath (left) and Andrea Perry (right).

What is self-care to you? Perhaps it is taking a bubble bath or doing a facemask. However, this is not always what self-care looks like. Sometimes it is a long process, and it is not always glamorous. This is what It’s On Us (IOU), the Health and Counseling Center (HCC) and SAFE Alliance came together to talk about at IOU’s first chapter meeting of the semester. 

IOU is an on-campus group that educates students on their Title IX rights, helps prevent sexual violence and brings awareness on sexual assault. They hold chapter meetings and tablings on campus, open to all students who wish to learn more. This month’s chapter meeting was about how we practice long and short term self-care. 

As a student in attendance, Savina Rodriguez explained long-term care as having vulnerable communication. “It’s not something that’s easy. Healing is a long term thing. It’s messy and it’s not always rainbows,” she said. 

Natalie Busath and Andrea Perry, employees at SAFE, were also there to show students how they can practice caring for themselves long-term.

Busath and Perry explained that SAFE provides confidential services for those experiencing violence — domestic, sexual or other — with counseling, legal options and problem-solving. The nearest SAFE Alliance location to St. Edward’s campus is the East Riverside building. They explained that among their many services, they also offer free medicine to prevent STIs and pregnancy. 

Open 24/7, the SAFE Alliance is there to help those experiencing violence with their SAFEline, which can be reached at 512-267-7233, or by text at 737-888-7233. SAFE encourages volunteers interested in this line of work to attend info sessions or check their website for information on involvement opportunities. 

Busath explained that what makes SAFE different from other providers is that they “serve folks of all gender identities for all services, and we are able to help the youth get safety, too.” These are just a few services that SAFE offers. As Perry described it, “If you look at the national level of victim response, we really stand out by meeting such a wide range of needs.” 

In discussing the theme of the meeting, Busath defined self-care as “a struggle everyday. Sometimes its setting boundaries, sometimes its saying no. It’s difficult to make your life more sustainable and take care of yourself.”

Perry defines self care as practicing “consent, communication, and care.” She explained that this is the “best medicine against the effects of violence.”

Busath went off of Perry’s point about consent by saying, “Never assume anything. If there’s ever confusion, normalize asking. Don’t be ashamed to ask.”

Dr. Susie Martinez from the HCC introduced the Survivor Support Group that will be held on campus in an effort to provide a safe space. 

Maddie Benbenek is on the social media team for IOU and personally practices self-care.

“There’s something about thrift shopping that’s therapeutic to me. If I’ve had a hard week I’ll go shopping or go to yoga. It’s very calming, and a place where I can just be in the moment. It’s nice to know that there are resources on campus too if I’m really stressed out or anxious,” she said.

Benbenek encourages students to come show their support on March 11 at the next meeting for IOU, where they will be discussing the psychology of a predator. IOUAction week  is March 30 through April 2. On April 2, IOU will be hosting Take Back the Night, described byBenbenek as an event “where anyone can come together to support survivors and silently march to symbolize solidarity. It’s a public display of support, and it’s really moving to see how many people show out.”

To learn more about IOU and events happening soon, visit @its_on_us_steds on Instagram, @itsonussteds on Twitter, or their Facebook page, It’s On Us at St. Edward’s University.