This week SGA is hosting a series of events for Mental Health Awareness Week on campus for all students. Adjusting to college life can be difficult, regardless of what year you are in, and SGA wants to make certain that students know they are not alone.
The events, which started Monday, will last until Friday. They include a showing of the film, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” a Balloon Release at the Fountain, a Yoga Night, and be a free screening for depression done by the Moffitt Health Center.
“Mental health is so important to talk about because there is such a stigma surrounding mental health topics, yet so many of us struggle with [it],” junior psychology major Lauren Parker said.
Parker serves on the SGA and has helped coordinate this week’s events.
“[According to the CDC,] one in four American adults suffer from a mental illness, and three-fourths of all mental illnesses develop by the age 25. That means, that 25 percent of us are dealing with those problems on top of normal college stressors. Mental Health Awareness Week was created to open a dialogue surrounding mental health and really put it out there in the open so that no one suffers in silence. My hope is that the conversation continues past just this week and that students will walk away with the knowledge that hope and help are real.”
This week’s events to raise awareness for mental health are crucial because mental illness affects so many of us. Even if a mental illness does not affect you, with a statistic like one in four, chances are it affects someone you know. For this reason, students need to lose the stigma behind mental illness so that those who are struggling aren’t afraid or embarrassed to get the help they need.
In recent years, mental illnesses have been significantly on the rise, primarily for those who are 18-24, the typical age range of college students. The stress that many students are under can be a trigger for illnesses like anxiety and depression, especially for students who are far from home. For many students, it can be difficult to acclimate to such a new lifestyle. College can be overwhelming with all that it requires of us, but it’s important to remember there are so many helpful resources at our disposal as students.
The Student Counseling Services, located in Bond Hall across from the Thad Cochran Center, offers many services at no cost including: General Mental Health Information about illnesses, Mental Health Consultations to screen for signs of mental illnesses, Collegiate Recovery Community for students struggling with addiction, Emergency Counseling Services, and different forms of Counseling. According to the Student Counseling Services, all students are eligible for six free counseling sessions per semester. The Student Counseling Services offer couples counseling, group sessions, and individual sessions.
“I see so much value in shining light on topics like mental health awareness, especially since college students are at a high risk,” senior broadcast journalism major Carlee Welch-Dick said. “College and life are not easy and we need to voice that. The events planned for this week are catalysts to start important conversations on our campus.”