University Hosts Second Annual Mental Health Awareness Week
From Oct. 2-5, the University will hold its second annual Mental Health Awareness Week. The effort is coordinated by a cross-campus collaboration, including the Office of Health Promotion and the Mental Wellness Peer Educators, Student Association, Active Minds at SU, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at SU, the Counseling Center, the Disability Cultural Center, Hendricks Chapel and the Office of Student Assistance.
Throughout the week, the campus community is invited to engage in discussions and activities about mental health. This year, the organizers wanted to create opportunities and spaces to talk about mental health at SU while raising awareness and providing connections to campus resources on campus.
“Mental health advocacy is about supporting each other, acknowledging struggles, celebrating resiliency and continuing to work toward positive mental health as a community,” says Angie Pati, vice president of Student Association. “We all may have different mental health stories, but there is one unifying factor: we are never alone. Mental health advocacy is about making sure we truly feel that sentiment.”
The schedule for the week is as follows:
- Monday, Oct. 2—The Mental Health Awareness Week kick-off hosted by Student Association will be on the Quad from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students are invited to stop by and enjoy the inflatables, games and free T-shirts. The event will also address inequity and mental health alongside Shack-a-thon.
- Tuesday, Oct. 3—Intersectionality Matters, hosted by NAMI and Active Minds, will be a roundtable discussion about mental health and identity at 6:30 p.m. in 214 Hall of Languages.
- Wednesday, Oct. 4—Send Silence Packing, hosted by Active Minds, is an exhibition on the Quad to represent the number of college students lost to suicide each year.
- Thursday, Oct. 5—Therapy Dog Thursday, hosted by the Office of Health Promotion in partnership with Pet Partners, brings therapy dogs to the Quad from 2-6 p.m. Also, Sunset Yoga, hosted by Student Association, welcomes Dean Konkol of Hendricks Chapel to speak on the Quad at 6 p.m. with yoga to follow at 6:30 p.m.
Throughout the week, the campus community will also be invited to tie green ribbons in the Orange Grove for mental health awareness.
“This week gives us opportunities to think about how we play a vital role in creating a community of caring that helps us find connection and belonging at Syracuse, practice compassion toward others and ourselves, and start what can sometimes be difficult conversations about mental health,” says Kristelle Aisaka, health promotion specialist for mental health in the Office of Health Promotion. “Mental Health Awareness Week is not only about the week itself, but also about how we can continue to build awareness and support for mental health more broadly throughout the rest of the year and beyond.”
Following the awareness week, the Office of Health Promotion Mental Wellness Peer Educators will continue advocacy and education work. For them, Mental Health Awareness Week provides an avenue to begin these discussions.
“I hope that with the events, more students will stop and think about mental health and well-being empowerment,” says Crystal Hendriks, a senior in Falk College and mental wellness peer educator. “Every event that involves getting feedback and raising discussion about mental health from students will help us as peer educators be able to see the needs that we can address.”
Mental Wellness Peer Educators are available throughout the academic year to give presentations and workshops to classes, offices, floors or student organizations about mental wellness. Current programs relate to sleep, stress reduction, time management and mindfulness. Schedule a session for your group here.