Student groups come together for Embrace the Rain event as part of Mental Health Awareness week
Groups such as the Firecracker Foundation, To Write Love on Her Arms and the National Alliance of Mental Illness, or NAMI, came together to create the event to bring awareness and break the stigma by having people share their stories and sharing resources for those suffering in a safe space.
Kelle Sajdak, a counselor in the MSU Counseling Center, said she attended the event in addition to other counselors to show support.
“All of the student organizations work with us; we support them,” Sadjak said. “We make sure students know we are here, let them know about the counseling center and any emotional support they need during the event.”
Natalie Mcqueary, communication junior and president of MSU's chapter of To Write Love on Her Arms, said she attended "Embrace the Rain" last year and wanted to get the organization involved. She said people need to talk about mental illnesses and the stigma behind them.
Mcqueary said she thinks what separates "Embrace the Rain" from other events concerning mental health awareness is the realness of the speakers.
“It brings in real MSU students, not just some speakers from where ever and it makes it more relatable to say, ‘Hey, that’s my fellow student and they’re going through the same thing that I’m going through,'” Mcqueary said.
The event included four MSU students sharing their own journeys and experiences with a mental illness. Sho and Colin spoke about their experiences, Norrlyn shared a poem while Michaela performed a dance routine. Their last names were not shared out of respect for their personal situations.
Interdisciplinary studies junior Meghan Hurley was vocal about her own journey with mental illness during the time block that allowed students to share their personal struggles.
“I fully condone and support a conversation such as this happening and wanted to be apart of that space,” Hurley said.
Hurley also said how events such as "Embrace the Rain" can be like a double-edged sword because the event is open to everyone, but sometimes not everyone is on the same level of understanding.
“You don’t know who’s going to show up and you don’t know what the culture is going to be," Hurley said. "But this event was beautifully done because it was a group where survivors shared their stories and a community who supports them along with an opportunity to learn to care for those who need.”