On Wednesday, Sept. 9 and Thursday, Sept. 10, West Chester University hosted Take a Mental Health Day in order to spread awareness and education concerning mental health.
College, while exciting and intellectually stimulating, can be a burden in many different ways. From academic work, extracurricular activities, student organizations, and many more obligations, students can oftentimes find themselves extremely stressed out. It is important, in these times, to recognize that, in addition to these taxing responsibilities, some students suffer silently with suicidal thoughts.
While many know of depression and its negative impact on the lives of many, few know how to actively help those suffering from the disease.
In an effort to combat the negative stigmas surrounding mental health issues, the Counseling Center and the Active Minds chapter of West Chester University hosted a Check-Up from the Neck Up, in which students were able to partake in a mental health screening where they were able to diagnose and more easily understand any mental health conditions they may have had.
One student, who asked to remain anonymous, stated:
“I never really thought much about my mental state. I figured everyone had their days where [they didn’t] want to get up and head to class, or get up and be productive. After going through my screening, I was able to see that [not only] did my actions and feelings indicate that I may struggle with depression, but that there were networks out there for me that could help me get better with expressing my emotions and support me when I don’t feel like I’m in a good state of mind.”
In addition to these free screenings, there were also three presentations given throughout the day on Thursday, Sept. 10. The event kicked off with a free picnic that also doubled as an avenue for discussion. Students were given resources to many different support networks while also realizing they did not fight these battles alone.
Active Minds national speaker Stacy Pershall spoke first in the Sykes Student Union building. Her presentation focused on bullying and its adverse effects, the importance of mental health activism, and the use of body modification, such as tattoos, as a cathartic experience.
Next, Active Minds national speaker Kai Roberts offered students an interactive means that allowed them to be active while supporting mental health awareness. His upbeat messages were infectious, and there was not one still member in his audience.
Dr. Richard Kogan concluded Take a Mental Health Day with a presentation held in Asplundh Concert Hall. He showed students that even amazing composers, such as Fryderyk Chopin, struggled with their mental health, persevered through it, and went on to create something beautiful.
All three speakers showed students that, even though they may be struggling, they have a strong support system and, more importantly, the ability to take something stigmatized and “negative” and make something beautiful from it.
Arden Colleluori is a third-year student majoring in English and women’s and gender studies with a minor in Spanish. She can be reached at AC809169@wcupa.edu