World Mental Health Day at DSU

World Mental Health Day takes place on October 10th. The main goal for this day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health. This year Stomp Out Stigma, or S.O.S., held a few activities to help raise awareness. These activities took place over the lunch hour from 11am–1pm in the TC on Thursday, October 10th and Friday, October 11th. The group also held a movie on Thursday evening, Inside Out, alongside their other activities. 

The activities for the event included collaborative coloring with felt coloring sheets. Students worked together to color the image. One S.O.S. member said that this was to help the students understand the impact working together can have. “We wanted to show DSU students that they could come together and make something beautiful with our collaborative coloring.” The group gave out rubber band bracelets and pins in suicide awareness colors; there were also temporary tattoos so students could show their support for those who may be struggling and to have something positive to look at themselves. Finally, there were scratch-off cards for students to write positive affirmations that could be given to others or kept for themselves.

In advertisements for the event within the DSU activities post, they included some statistics regarding mental illness. “1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.  However, only 43.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment in 2018.” S.O.S. believe that these are just a few of the reasons that spreading awareness is important.

When asked why it’s important for clubs like Stomp Out Stigma to exist and raise awareness, one S.O.S. member said “We want people to know that having a mental illness doesn’t make them different. We want people to know that there is a support system and resources on campus and that there are people who know what they’re going through.” Because the club is one that focuses on mental health, they are connected to the Student Success Center, specifically to the counseling services. Nicole Bowen, one of the counselors for DSU, is the advisor for the club so they often work closely with the S.S.C. for events and activities. 

S.O.S. aims to create a close-knit support system for its members. “It’s about being a part of a community. There are people there to support and help you with whatever you’re going through,” said one student.

“You don’t have to be diagnosed to be involved with this club,” said another S.O.S. member. “We’re here to get you connected to the resources you may need and to help you if you’re having a bad day. We’re here to support you if you need it.”

Another member said that S.O.S. has taught them a lot. “I know that before I joined this club I didn’t know a lot about mental illness and the whole scope of how all of that worked, but I’ve learned a lot more after joining. So even if you’re interested in learning about mental illness you should think about joining the club. It’s been really educational for me.”

The club said they would like to hold similar events in the future.