SVSU Mental Health week begins today

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Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week at SVSU, as Student Association, Active Minds, Peer Health Education, the Student Athletic Advisory Council and the Panhellenic Council are all partnering to spread awareness and information about mental health.

According to SA President Cody McKay, a majority of the events are more passive, with a few interactive events sprinkled throughout the week as well.

“The topics we will cover during the week range from eating disorders, self-harm and suicide prevention, anxiety and depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” McKay said.

This year marks the second annual Mental Health Awareness Week.

“This was a topic that Student Association wanted to bring more awareness to, so last year we decided to partner up with Active Minds to make this a reality,” McKay said.

Active Minds has been a part of the planning committee since the fall semester. The RSO has served as the liaison between SA, the other organizations involved in Mental Health Awareness Week and the Counseling Center.

“We have helped to make sure that wording and events are appropriate and sensitive to those affected by mental illness,” Active Minds President Hailey Richards said. “Active Minds will be hosting a table sit on Tuesday where students can put on temporary tattoos of semi-colons to represent the semi-colon project. Students can also decorate a suicide awareness ribbon in memory of a loved one or in support of the week in general.”

There are several opportunities for SVSU students to get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week, outside of just attending events. Students can go to the Counseling Center to receive a positive letter from a fellow student. Many students volunteered to write such letters last week to support those who are in need of positive encouragement.

The groups involved will also be handing out free bracelets, reading “End the Stigma,” at all of the week’s table sits and events.

The week kicks off today at 10 a.m. outside both the Marketplace at Doan and the library, where students will have tables set up to spread information about “Creating a Positive Body Image.” The event will continue until 6 p.m.

Tomorrow, there will be “Suicide and Self Harm Prevention” table-sits outside the Marketplace from noon until 4 p.m. Additionally, at 5 p.m. outside the Counseling Center, there will be an “Active Minds Scavenger Hunt.” First place at the scavenger hunt will win a stress relief basket that includes a massage pass valued at $100, while second place’s basket is valued at $60 and third place’s at $20. Finally, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., Program Board will be putting on “Painting With a Twist” in the Student Life Programming Room for its regularly scheduled “Pinterest with Program Board series.

On Wednesday, the “Mental Health Resource Fair” will be held from noon until 4 p.m. in the Rotunda, while “Relaxation Yoga” will be taking place from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the Thompson Student Activities Room (TSAR).

The week will commence on Feb. 2 with “PTSD Jeopardy” being held outside the library from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“I am most looking forward to two things,” McKay said. “First, the Mental Health Resource Fair, where students will be able to learn about what resources are available to them both on and off campus. The other is simply bringing attention to this topic. Mental health is extremely important, and by being supportive and showing others that we are in this together, it can make a huge difference on those that are going through tough times.”

Richards shared similar excitement toward the week as a whole.

“I am most looking forward to the opportunity to spread awareness about such an important topic that affects everyone,” she said. “Mental illness affects one in four people. It’s important to take care of ourselves and know how to help a friend who is struggling.”

More information, including dates, times and locations of events can be found on the SVSU Engage app.

Additionally, there is also a Facebook page called Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 that McKay, and others involved, encourage students to like.

All the groups involved see this week as a necessary and beneficial time to spread information about an issue that can often be overlooked.

“Studies show that one out of every four adults live with a diagnosable mental health disorder,” McKay said. “With this being the reality, mental health is a conversation we need to have as much as possible.

“By being aware and knowing how to help others that are living with one of these disorders,” McKay added, “we can create a supportive and caring community that can help each other through the good times and the bad.”