Throughout the week, UPUA, Active Minds and CAPS will continue Mental Health Awareness Week to educate students on mental health issues.
Each day, an area will be set up in the HUB-Robeson Center Noontime Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that focuses on various mental health issues. A different mental health issue will be presented each day of the week.
On Monday, information was available on post-traumatic stress disorder in honor of Veterans Day. The week focused on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on Tuesday and are set to discuss anxiety and stress today, suicide prevention and depression on Thursday and eating disorders on Friday.
The University Park Undergraduate Association, Active Minds and Counseling and Psychological Services organized the event because they felt there was a need for the psychological side of the spectrum to be brought to light on campus, UPUA Student Life Chair Justin Laskowski said.
Laskowski (junior-philosophy) said that each day of the week, an interactive game will be presented so that students can learn about the mental health issue of the day.
While the week was made in order to raise awareness and educate, some representatives feel it isn’t the best way to represent mental health issues.
“I think the general purpose of Mental Health Awareness Week is something that’s good and needed to bring attention to these issues, [but] some of the ways in which we’re going about it aren’t the best ways,” UPUA Off-Campus Representative Anthony Christina (senior-history) said.
Christina particularly felt that the activities for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Day aren’t the best way to deal with a sensitive subject. He said he has friends who are veterans and spinning a wheel for prizes isn’t enough to bring the necessary attention that post-traumatic stress disorder deserves.
Co-President of Active Minds Dave Sosnowski said he’d like those who are skeptical of the event to come out and see for themselves what the activities have to offer and change their feelings about it.
“I think that the idea is to get people more comfortable with mental health topics, and I think the fact that other students are mentioning the cause and are concerned about the issues can be a powerful statement,” Clinical social worker for CAPS Mary Anne Knapp said.
Associate Professor of Psychology Martha Wadsworth said the intent of the week depends on how the information is delivered, but the intent of it is “well-grounded.”
“Mental health problems on college campuses are very, very common, but I don’t think students know that. Sometimes knowing that you’re not alone can also be really helpful in terms of being brave enough to go seek help,” Wadsworth said.
UPUA had a budget of $1,300 for the weeklong event and ended up using $1,167.03 of it.
Knapp said the goal is to make students more aware of resources. She said they’ll also be promoting the “Show You Care” campaign — an initiative made to encourage students to find help for a friend who may be struggling. It can be accessed at studentaffairs.psu.edu/counseling/showyoucare.
Other activities include a massage table on Anxiety and Stress Day today, 1,100 pre-cut paper hands for students to sign and display on the HUB lawn and a banner on Eating Disorder Day for students to leave a post-it note with a stigma attached to eating disorders that comes to mind.
To wrap up the week, a raffle will be held and the winner will receive a $50 gift card donated by Irving’s.