William Peace University decided to go green for a week to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week! For those of you who didn’t know according to NAMI, October 1st-October 7th is Mental Health Awareness Week but Peace wanted to stay ahead of the curve. This was still fitting, however, considering it was the last week in September, and September was also National Suicide Prevention month. However, October is National Bullying Prevention Month so we welcome you October with open arms.
So, for this special week my school, William Peace University celebrated the whole week filled with jam-packed events. Which was September 25th thru September 28th.
On Monday, September 25th, students wore green in support of mental health and also signed a pledge to stomp out the stigma of mental health. In the afternoon, students took a mental health walk to help raise more awareness.
On Tuesday, September 26th, students were able to take mental health screenings which were provided by a counselor on campus. After their screening, they are evaluated with their results and are told of the disorders they could have based on the questions they answered. The club on campus that promotes mental health called Active Minds also helped with this process.
On Wednesday, September 27th, students were able to participate in making positivity paintings! Which basically includes painting whatever makes you happy. There was also a drum circle that the wellness center invited to come play for the Internation Club at the school. It was a nice thing for students just sit down and unwind after classes were done for the day.
On Thursday, which was the last day of mental health awareness week, Active Minds, and the Wellness Center created a panel of speakers who had suffered from mental illnesses themselves to speak to an audience of other students around campus. It was discussion based and anyone could ask questions for the panelists to speak on. The panelist was made out of four students, and one teacher who also has her clinical psychology practice outside of school.
One fact, one of my old teachers who was panelist named Kaycee Meginnis-Payne (MP) said was that “1 in 4 college students meet the criteria for a mental disorder.” This can come from stress, moving to a new area, or any other detrimental factors.
Someone in the audience had asked a question of how people cope with their disorders. A senior at Peace had said: “Men are expected to keep their emotions to themselves. Self-medicating never helps either.” He is right about that. Self-medicating should never be the answer when dealing with a mental illness or disorder. In this case, his mental illness was depression, and he was self-medicating with substance abuse.
A sophomore said, “Mindfulness can help with depressive episodes. Like counting things in the room personally helped me.”
MP also added her opinion to this question stating: “Focus on one step at a time and you will get through it.”
I asked, anonymously, if there was a way to get diagnosed if you had no support in your family.
I have personally have had panic attacks since I was a junior in high school, (I am a sophomore in college now) and they always end up with me feeling drained at the end of the day. I have low self-esteem, and my body is always fatigued and cranky. I get very anxious if people walk behind me because I think they are talking badly about me, and I am always stressed out. This would lead to the conclusion that I could have anxiety. I have done the mental screenings at school, and they have led me to this diagnosis. I have also seen the school consular to help me with issues I have had in the past. However, my family is not very supportive of me to get diagnosed, so I have to suffer in silence.
A junior at Peace had answered this question as she has multiple disorders. She stated: “Don’t wait. Seek help if you need it. Take it seriously. You also shouldn’t put your life in someone’s else’s hands if you can’t go and get diagnosed. You have other support besides family.”
The same senior at Peace added: “Use the wellness center if other resources don’t work out.”
And MP stated: “There are free resources in Raleigh like AA, (Alcohol Anonymous) if you can’t use your insurance because you share with your parents. They offer a lot of help to get you on track.”
The last question asked was what do you look forward to in a mental professional?
The sophomore at Peace and a second-semester junior both stated that they needed tough love in order to function during their sessions.
There was also a comment added by the second semester junior that said: “You don’t need to lie about your emotions all the time.”
The sophomore added to a question to look for warning signs when you are about to have an attack is to “Look for physical signs they are really important when you are about to break down.”
The panel ended on a high note as did mental health awareness week!
There is also more YOU can do to help out those in need to spread awareness for mental illnesses.
The Buddy Project, for example, is “non-profit movement that aims to prevent suicide and self-harm by pairing people as buddies and raising awareness for mental health.”
They also have campus representatives for middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college goers! I happen to be one for William Peace University and I need to run a social media account. So besides checking out my twitter for weekly blogs, check out my Buddy Project Instagram for the school. Don’t forget to share it too!
Have any questions about what happened this week? Drop me a line in the comment section below. 😀
Featured Image Source: Kassie’s Original Photo, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE!!