by Bridget Blain ’19
Every day millions of people deal with the realities of struggling with mental illness and college students are no exception.
Considering how stressful college life can be, it is crucial for students to be given resources that provide information on dealing with mental health and learning the importance of self-care.
Events held on college campuses, such as the ones at Providence College this past month, do not always garner the attendance that they should.
This is upsetting, as it suggests that the stigma surrounding mental health is still prevalent, and as a result, students may not be willing to seek out the help that they need.
In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week, which was the first week of October, PC hosted a number of events throughout the month to help bring awareness and work to break the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Clubs on campus such as Active Minds are constantly working to create events that raise awareness about mental health issues.
These on-campus events focused on topics such as mental health, mindfulness, and self-love, but all received low attendance.
Perhaps students do not want to attend an event focused solely on an issue they do not relate to. However, many workshops and events focused on how to have healthier relationships and build self-esteem, which are subjects that everyone can benefit from learning more about.
One of the most well-known events held on campus during Mental Health Awareness Month is Fresh Check Day. One of the benefits of Fresh Check Day is that since it is so interactive, students who attend are directly engaged in the topics and are able to have important discussions with fellow students. Fresh Check Day covers a wide variety of topics surrounding mental health, and everyone that attends can learn something new.
All students should feel comfortable attending these type of events—wanting to learn how to better take care of yourself is something to be proud of.
Events such as Fresh Check Day should not only be held during a certain month. Students should be encouraged to constantly take care of their mental well-being and help destigmatize mental health through more mental health events.
While significant progress on how students discuss mental health has been made, there are still misconceptions and a general lack of awareness on campus.
Students may feel shy about speaking publicly about mental health or ashamed of how they feel which may hold them back from opening up about what they are experiencing.
According to the American Psychological Association, colleges across the country have been seeing an increase in students who seek out counseling by 30 percent between 2009-2010 and 2014-2015, so it is imperative that students are educated on the signs of mental illness, not just for themselves, but to help their fellow students.
Events held on college campuses that focus on mental health are not extremely valuable because students can be exposed to ideas and topics that are as openly discussed in the public sphere.
In order for students to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health, all students should try to attend these events.
Normalizing discussions about mental health will be much easier if we all offer support to the clubs and individuals who work to put on these events.