May is Mental Health Awareness month

Rosie Morehead, Multimedia Contributor

The entire month of May at Oregon State University is dedicated as a month for students to come together and reflect on how they and their peers are doing mentally and emotionally, and how they can support one another.

May is Mental Health Awareness month and Counseling and Psychological Services has been holding events and talks throughout the month. As the month is wrapping up, there are only a few events left.

The mental health promotion specialist for CAPS, Bonnie Hemrick, has played one of the biggest roles for this month, coordinating behind the scenes of the events, finding out what students need from this month of awareness.

Hemrick believes the purpose of this month is a combination of hearing peers’ stories of what they have experienced, how they have overcome it and what resources they have utilized to help them along their way.

“The purpose of this month is to let people know that they are not alone in what they are experiencing,” Hemrick said.

Hemrick describes the specific messaging that they have displayed to students, like the “Send Silence Packing” event where they placed backpacks all around the Memorial Union Quad, to expose students to the topic of suicide awareness.

Other events in the realm of mental health included a de-stress event and two speak-out events.

Student outreach assistant for CAPS, Sean Borne, believes because this month is such a sensitive topic, it is important to break down the walls that people put up around the stigma of mental health.

He also mentions that students are surrounded by many resources.

The process for picking the topics and events for this month to be tied into the Mental Health Promotion program where they focus on stress management, mindfulness and suicide prevention according to Hemrick.

Hemrick picks the events that all come back to these three major foundations.

“We wanted to put a face to the name of what mental health is and what it means to people, so a lot of these events you are able to connect with the meaning of what the person is going through,” Borne added.

Second year kinesiology student, Anne Kim, expresses how it can be hard for friends to open up about mental health issues.

“It’s important that friends are aware and are supportive,” Kim said. “A lot of people aren’t open to talking about their mental health problems because there’s a lot of stigma about it like, ‘oh just try harder and get over yourself.’”

Hemrick gives some tips for the scenario where you are not personally struggling with a mental health issue but a friend or peer is and you are not sure what to do.

“Come into CAPS or you can call CAPS and get a consultation with a counselor, and the counselor can walk you through that process of how to have that conversation,” Hemrick said.

One of the final events that CAPS is hosting is Beaver Chill, which is a de-stress recess where there are opportunities for students to participate in activities that reduce stress. This event is located in the Student Experience Center in the Student Involvement Lounge.

CAPS is also offering students an opportunity to connect with therapy dogs at the end of the term.

For more information on CAPS or Mental Health Awareness month, CAPS is located on the fifth floor of Snell Hall.


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