Mental Health Awareness Month: Let’s Talk….Long Term

“It’s easy to get caught in the fray of college life,” said Eric Macadangdang, a sophomore studying biology and the Wellness Chair of the Student Government Board. “You have to remind yourself that you are a person first and student second.”
Eric along with the Student Government Board have coordinated a variety of events throughout October, Mental Health Awareness Month, to encourage dialogue about mental health, mental illness, the stigma surrounding mental illness, and people’s personal experiences. “It’s important to care for yourself and to realize that there are resources on campus that want to help you,” said Eric.
The events held throughout the month are efforts to show every aspect of mental health. Students will courageously share their journeys with mental illness through art and poetry at the Stories Untold Art Exhibit on October 8 and the Stay Spoke Poetry Night on October 11. Mental illness victims and survivors will be recognized at the Mental Health Vigil on October 12 and at Remembering the 1,100 on October 19. Students will also have the opportunity to hold discussions with leaders on campus to learn about how to respond to a friend or family member asking for help at the Let’s Talk Panel on October 16. Dennis Gillan, someone who lost both of his brothers to suicide and who struggled with depression, will conclude the month’s events on October 24 by sharing his story. Professional counselors will be on site at many of these events to offer support.
Even though Mental Health Awareness Month will conclude at the end of October, the University’s and Student Government’s efforts to spread awareness and help people will not end. “I’d like it to not just be a month where we say “We’re going to talk about it””, said Eric. “I’d like this to be an overall message beyond this month and beyond this semester. Once one person starts talking about mental health it has a domino effect.”
By: Jennifer Wallace