Mental Health fair kicks off Mental Health Week
The Student Services Department led the third annual Mental Health Awareness Fair on Oct. 17. This event kicked off the first ever Mental Health Awareness week from Oct. 17-21. Students walked around the fair during their lunch hours to learn about mental health issues, especially those pertaining to suicide and stress. The fair focused on self care and prevention, offering phone numbers and resources for students to use if needed.
Founder of the fair Elizabeth Einig, ‘17, worked the self-care kit station, where students could make their own kit with items that would stimulate their senses. These items included stress balls and cloth for touch and candy for taste. Einig said this station is important because people “need to help each other out and take care of themselves.”
Neishamia Kayizzi, ‘18, worked the booth where positive quotes were put up on a board to motivate students. Students could write their own positive messages on post-it notes, and put them up on the board. Kayizzi believes mental health awareness is “a really good cause,” and the positive messages help to “raise self-esteem and inspire people.”
Blue Team counselor Richard Bauer ran a table on Operation Snowball, a program that encourages healthy decision making. Bauer handed out warm fuzzies, which are pieces of yarn attached to a piece of paper on which students wrote positive messages. Students then gave these positive messages to others. Bauer said the fair “is a fantastic event that helps students” and only “gets bigger every year.”
Alexian Brothers representative Shannon Stowasser worked a table on eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. Stowasser explained the fair is “a great opportunity for students to get involved in mental health awareness” and hopes that students who visited the fair “walked away with more knowledge” on mental health.
After visiting the fair, students could fill out a survey to win a prize. The survey gave students a chance to review the fair and offer suggestions for next year.
Einig believes that mental health “needs to be a subject able to be talked about” and hopes the fair helped do just that.
A suicide presentation for parents was held later in the day. On Oct.19, students and staff were encouraged to wear orange in support of Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Unity Day, and the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program was presented to freshmen on Oct. 20 during PRIDE. Inspirational and motivational speaker Javier Sanchez will end the week by presenting to all eighth hour classes on Oct. 21.