When Danielle Floyd, Vice President of Student Government Board Initiatives, began planning for Mental Health Awareness Month, she said that she was creating safe spaces on campus. was the most important aspect.
“[The goal of] Mental Health Awareness Month is to create [spaces] where we as students can have an open dialogue about the importance of mental health, mental illness, the stigma surrounding mental health and what it looks like in different communities, âFloyd, a major junior in economics, noted.
Mental health is an important part of students’ lives, and October is filled with events organized by student organizations that help raise awareness and start conversations about mental health. According to Floyd, MHAM’s goal is to create a lasting campus-wide effect beyond the month and to empower students on campus.
Some upcoming events include a self-care workshop on On Monday at 6 p.m. at the William Pitt Union Dining Room A, hosted by Pitt Active Spirits. The events will help participants develop self-care skills, such as creating a flip chart or a reading list to walk to class.
There is also “Mindfulness and Guided Meditation âorganized by the Rainbow Alliance next Thursday at 9pm in the WPU Kurtzman room. The event will discuss mindfulness and meditation techniques, such as breathing exercises.
MHAM is organized by student clubs on campus such as Pitt Active Minds, Oakland Outreach and more. According to Floyd, it’s up to students and by students to communicate the importance of socializing with friends and taking care of mental health.
âMental Health Awareness Month is a completely student-led effort because I think it means more hearing our peers communicate the importance of mental health, rather than having the month organized by a department. academic, âFloyd said. “However, we definitely rely on the advice center to help provide support spaces for our events, just in case someone is re-triggered by the content we are discussing.”
Dr Jay Darr, Director of University orientation center, cited studies that have shown that college graduates who received emotional support are three times more likely to report that they “thrive” after college. He also mentioned another study which showed that depression, anxiety and stress are the main contributors to poor academic performance, and that there is an inverse relationship between surrogacy and mental health problems.
Darr said statistics like these explain why it is so important for Pitt to provide mental support to his students.
Nadiyah Fisher, Vice President of Pitt National Alliance Against Mental Illness, said it’s important to open the conversation about mental health on campus to break the stigma.
âI think it’s important because of this long-lasting stigma, especially in communities of color and marginalized communities as well,â Fisher said. âI think the first step is really to speak up, I mean, it’s a great first step to really recognize that there is stigma on campus, realizing that there are resources to help out as well. We need to be more involved in our experiences because that’s what connects people and makes them more comfortable with their mental health.
According to Floyd, over the past year, SGB has stepped up its efforts to ensure these messages continue to spread across campus. After COVID-19, she said students needed to be more connected to resources on campus, so SGB decided to work with more student organizations.
Fisher, a junior double major in neuroscience and psychology, said events have gone well so far, but there has been a bit of hesitation of students sharing their struggles with mental health, which she understands from mental health may be difficult to open. She thinks it’s a great place to take that first step towards an open discussion about your mental health.
âEveryone at the events was open to learning, but it’s also still shy,â Fisher said. âEven though the University has taken a big step forward in trying to make this awareness month, by making us wear t-shirts and making it an initiative. There is still shyness when you are in a room and talking about things that are very personal to you. I think this is a great first step for new people to be encouraged to talk about their mental health, and I think we just need to keep going. “
Darr said students in need should reach out and get the support they need through the College Counseling Center and other resources Pitt provides, such as MHAM events, [emailÂ protected]tt or have conversations with other members of the Pitt community.
Fisher said some of the events have trigger warnings, and it’s important to determine which events are best to attend.
âFirst, I would also just like to assess your own sanity,â Fisher said. âYou certainly don’t want to trigger at one of the events, and many events have trigger warnings just in case people share their experiences, but also to gauge where you are at right now, and understand if that event is for you, and if you feel like you’re not there yet, you can still make it happen.
Floyd said she learned a lot from attending MHAM events – about her own mental health and how the stigma associated with mental health began. She said she was honored to attend these events and hear the stories of her peers.
âBy attending some of the events, I continue to strengthen my understanding of the significance for which the stigma has been created and I heard some really amazing testimonials from people talking about their experiences throughout the month,â said Floyd. . âIt really is such a humbling and rewarding time to see all the amazing events come together. We have come together as a planning group throughout the summer, and now we can see the fruits of the labor and the events that actually happened! “