The stress level of Southeastern students is high as finals week quickly approaches. In order to help relieve some of the stress, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) on Campus Southeastern held a Mental Health Fair for all students to attend on Dec.2.
NAMI on Campus Southeastern is a mental health advocacy organization dedicated to educating the Southeastern community about mental health issues, reducing the stigma of mental illness on campus and increasing resources for students and faculty experiencing mental health issues.
The fair included art therapy, pet therapy, make-your-own stress ball and suicide awareness booths.
“The purpose of the event was to tell students that regardless of how stressed they may be, they need to remember to take a second to breathe. NAMI gives students ideas of how they can de-stress during the hectic week. For example, you can paint a picture during a study break. That way your mind stays alert while you are having fun,” Amanda Lally, member of NAMI, said.
The Mental Health Fair took place outside of Fayard Hall. This is a central location on campus which allowed for many attendees. The club remained at this location from 10 A.M.-2 P.M.
“I painted and made a stress ball, but the highlight of my day was getting to pet the dogs. I met a dog named Sam who was the sweetest. It’s just what I needed before locking myself in the library to study all day,” Samantha Bergeron, a sophomore psychology major, said.
The suicide awareness booth included a poster that read,”How has suicide affected you?” Students could then write on notecards how suicide has impacted his or her life.
“The booths are what got me. So many said that their mom or dad committed suicide or that they had contemplated it themselves. It’s just astonishing to see that a lot of the people we pass by every day have issues like that. It’s eye-opening,” Mackenzie Foreman, a senior communication, sciences and disorders major, said.
The only requirement for membership in NAMI is having an interest in mental health and advocating for individuals experiencing mental health problems. The group meets once a month in order to plan events. Throughout the semester they also hold a depression support group for any students that would like to attend.
Lally explained that at the group’s final meeting of the semester they spoke about emotional support animals, therapy animals and psychiatric service animals. This allowed for the group members to fully understand the effectiveness of pet therapy before meeting with students at the fair.
Below is an audio clip of Mackenzie Foreman discussing her experience at the Mental Health Fair.