Saturday, September 26, 2020

‘College should be a place where we are well’: Mental health at MSU

November 14, 2019
Michigan State is honoring mental health victims by holding a Mental Health Awareness Week, full of activities and seminars to bring awareness and information to students seeking mental help.
Michigan State is honoring mental health victims by holding a Mental Health Awareness Week, full of activities and seminars to bring awareness and information to students seeking mental help. —
Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

Mental Health Awareness Week aims to “release the stigma around mental health, educate students on resources available to them, and continue to advocate for increased mental health resources on campus.” 

This year, there are several new events and elements to raise awareness of mental health in the campus community.

The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, kicked off the second-annual Mental Health Awareness Week Nov. 11.

ASMSU collaborates with other student groups on campus and MSU departments for the week to bring more ideas to the table and to foster a greater collaboration throughout campus.

This initiative entails several different events throughout the week that try to “shed light and increase awareness of mental health.”

Some of the events this year include “Release the Stigma: Focusing on Multicultural Communities,” “Embrace the Rain,” a candlelight vigil at the Rock on Farm Lane, “Positive Affirmation Day” and more.

“It’s just so important that (students) know that we are here for them. Even just to provide something as simple as a shirt or a water bottle, it just might make someone’s week,” Red Cedar Log Editor-in-Chief Helen Korneffel said. “I just think it’s important that we help release the stigma.”

Mental Health Awareness Week is a way to bring the community together and evaluate how to improve wellness and mental health resources on campus, Liaison for Health, Safety and Wellness for ASMSU Kumaran Arivoli said.

“We shouldn’t go to college and solely focus on stress,” Arivoli said. “College should be a place where we are well, and that seems like such a foreign concept to us. I think that should be a huge part of going to college, is being happy and so many students aren’t happy. So, that’s why it’s super important to have a week like this.”

In order to bring more awareness this year, ASMSU has more online shareable features and promotions on social media, as well as new events like “Break the Stigma: Mental Health in Multicultural Communities.”

Mental Health Awareness Week was originally held in the spring semester last year, but has since been moved to a more appropriate time of year, Arivoli said.

Due to the absence of a fall break, finals and the change of weather, some students find themselves in need of help with their mental health during this time of year.

“It’s a very stressful time of year. It’s after midterms, or maybe even during midterms. It’s close to finals week,” Arivoli said. “Even something as simple as the weather changing with people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. It’s just a busy and tough time of the year for a lot of students, particularly college students.”

As a senior this year, Arivoli said he tried to create a more unique week and create new events. He said he hopes Mental Health Awareness Week continues to spread the same important message in new, creative ways in the years to come.

“I think it’s really important to at least make this a unique week. I didn’t want to do exactly what we did last year,” Arivoli said. “For the person who follows my job next year, I’m going to make sure that they have their own ideas and come up with some really cool things. ... I think updating mental health and its multiple facets is a really, really good idea to keep this going on in the future.”

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