Members of the Psychology Club at York at a Mental Awareness event. Photo credit: Theodora Danso.
By Theodora Danso
Did you know that the holidays is a very stressful time for some individuals? Individuals suffering depression have it worse during the holidays especially when they do not have any support system. They feel alone in the world and this can make it very difficult for them to even tackle daily activities. These and a number of other reasons is why mental health awareness is so important and also why we need to stop the stigma associated with mental health issues. Instead, we should encourage and offer support and empathize with people suffering from this silent killer. A little smile and kind words go a long way.
The Psychology club held its annual mental health awareness event on November 20th, 2018 while spotting their brightly green colored tee shirts. The message for this year’s event was, “Stop the Stigma.” According to the president of the club, Rebecca Philantrope, most people suffering from mental health issues do not seek help due to the stigma attached to it. She also mentioned how stigmatizing the individual can create other issues such as substance use and abuse, as a coping mechanism. Other members of the club also enlightened the student population on the different mental health issues and the resources available to seek help. The event was filled with music by DJ Alpha Red and numerous activities such as a do-it-yourself stress ball booth and of course free mental health awareness memorabilia.
The event was educational as it was fun. There were boards with information on the different mental health illnesses and why stigmatizing someone suffering from any mental health illness is a detriment to the individual and the people who love and care for the person.
Ellen Ritz, a representative from National Alliance on Mental Issues (NAMI) was also present at the event. NAMI is a nationwide grassroot advocacy group who represent individuals affected by mental health illness in the United States. Ritz talked about the different resources available to help people suffering from mental health issues such as the 24-hour helpline and volunteer opportunities available for anyone interested.
Ritz also spoke to some of the students at the event and answered questions about mental health and what we can do to help other during a mental health crisis. She also mentioned that the organization is always looking for students to volunteer.
From the Psychology Club in York College to everyone reading this, STOP THE STIGMA! Its okay to seek the help you need. You are not alone. You are loved and cherished. You matter!!