APO and CAPS Discuss Mental Health at FSU
Mental health is something that many college students struggle with every day. The discussion revolving around mental health is a continuously growing one, but there is still so much to destigmatize. On Nov. 8, Alpha Phi Omega and CAPS held a Mental Illness Awareness event. The event was focused on informing about and destigmatizing mental health, and it lasted about an hour and a half. Eileen Griffin, a doctoral intern with CAPS, led the first part of the event. She began by discussing an overview of mental health and what the event was going to cover. Then she moved on to trivia and statistics. The statistics allowed the group to fully understand how many people are dealing with mental health struggles. According to the statistics provided, more than 25% of students have been diagnosed with a mental health condition and 40% of students with a diagnosable mental health condition do not seek help. There is such a strong stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help that 40% of people don’t search for the help they deserve. Griffin said during the trivia that “anxiety is the most common mental health concern college students face.” College is a stressful time and the ensuing anxiety can often take a major toll on a student’s life.
Griffin talked about the different things people can do to maintain their mental health. The three things she listed are practicing self-care, building positive and supportive relationships with others, and seeking help when you need it. After the presentation, Griffin had the group practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves bringing attention to the present. The group shut their eyes and listened to an eight minute long video. They were instructed to visualize themselves standing by a lake and imagine their thoughts floating away on a leaf. The point of the exercise was to make the participants aware of what they were thinking and give them a way to simply observe their thoughts. The presentation and mindfulness exercise started a discussion about mental health and how important it is. CAPS is a great resource and it should be utilized when needed. There should be no shame in getting help.
After the first part of the event, there were people who shared their stories. The stories were personal and gave people a chance to share their own experiences with mental health or mental illness. The room was quiet during the stories and everyone was very respectful of the people talking. Sharing experiences is important for both the people telling the stories and for those hearing them. It can be beneficial for people to feel like they are heard and to feel like they are not being judged for their experiences. Every person that spoke that night was incredibly brave for sharing their stories. It can also be beneficial for the people listening to hear these stories. It could help them understand mental health better or it may resonate with them and they might not feel as alone in what they’re going through. This part of the event was incredibly moving and important in the discussion of mental health. This event as a whole was extremely beneficial to the discussion of mental health as well. Our campus needs to be talking more about mental health and destigmatizing mental illnesses. People with mental illnesses are just people that struggle with things a little differently than those without. It’s important to keep this discussion going and help those who may need it. Mental illnesses are real. They are invisible, but they are there. Let’s recognize this and talk about it. Discussion is key.
“Like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.” -Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book
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