Mental Health Awareness Week At SU
By Lilia Wood – Syracuse, NY (CitrusTV) – The Student Association (SA) will be hosting Mental Health Awareness Week on campus for the third year in a row. The purpose of the event is to end the stigma associated with mental health and to show students suffering from depression, anxiety or even stress that they are not alone.
Mackenzie Mertikas, one of the co-chairs on the Health and Wellness Committee of SA says they want “to make sure people are aware that mental health is something that so many people suffer from and have problems with and that they are not alone in this.”
On Sunday, there will be a “Be-Well Expo” in the dome for first-year and transfer students, although the entire campus is invited. Dan Harris, an ABC anchor, is the keynote speaker and will be talking about his journey to meditation after failing to find happiness through workaholism and substance abuse. There’s going to be food and interactive activities including a rock climbing wall, life size zen garden, and a lot of giveaways.
“It’s a first step,” Mertikas said. “It’s something that the university is doing for the first time anything like this. It’s like the dome was a little like shook by the ways they wanted to be set up. I think it’s really cool that they are taking this first step and recognizing that health and wellness is something that is important to all students.”
The week will continue with a variety of activities on the quad with inflatables and giveaways, therapy dogs, meditation and even a kick-ball game on Friday.
On Thursday night, SA will be hosting a new event, Stomp the Stigma, in Hendricks Chapel. This concert will include acapella groups, poetry and other performances all carrying out the message of mental health. After the concert, there will be a discussion about everything brought up during the event.
“The big difference this year is the concert which is what we are really excited about because nothing really has been done like that before,” Mertikas said. “It’s an artistic what of expressing intersectionality and stuff like that. It’s not like someone’s sitting in a room having people talk about it. It’s performing it in an emotional way, which I think can be very powerful.”
All throughout the week, students are invited to tie green ribbons to the trees in the orange grove near Carnegie Library to show how many people on campus have been affected by mental health.
“I hope they learn that they are not alone in this,” Mertikas said. “What I’m most excited for is the ribbons in the Orange Grove. It is so significant for people to go through and see how many ribbons on there and they all signify so many people that have gone through something similar to you. Or even if you have not gone through anything, someone that you know has gone through that.”