Many adults and children suffer from a mental illness, and the stigma that mental wellness is not as important as physical wellness is something Kansas State students are trying to end during their first-ever Mental Wellness Week.
Olivia Baalman, student governing association health and safety director and junior in computer science, is in charge of creating and planning events for the Mental Wellness Week along with Union Program Council, Counseling Services, Peer Advocates for Mental Wellness and WellCAT Ambassadors.
Baalman said a goal of Jessica Van Ranken and Trenton Kennedy, student body president and vice president, was to increase awareness across campus for mental wellness.
“I hope this week will be a reoccurring event that happens every year,” Baalman said.
Every day this week there will be different events held to help “Stop the Stigma.”
· RT’s for Ross and free food from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Bosco Student Plaza. Later that night at 7 p.m. Ross Szabo will be giving a presentation, “Behind Happy Faces,” in the Ballroom at the K-State Student Union.
· From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Quad will be Stomp the Stigma, where students will be able to stomp on bubble wrap.
· Art Therapy – because life can get messy, will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Bosco Student Plaza. Following Art Therapy at 4:30 p.m. in the Big 12 room, the K-State Student Union will host a Creating Your Best Life Mental Wellness panel.
· Students can “Bubble Your Troubles Away” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Talk Saves Life with Melissa Kurtenbach will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Big 12 room.
To conclude the week, there will be an Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk. Registration begins at 10 a.m.
Piper Coen, freshman in marketing and entrepreneurship, is fundraising for the walk.
“I lost a friend my junior year of high school to suicide,” Coen said. “I saw the donation link on Facebook and decided to participate. It is important to me for people who are struggling to get the help they need.”
Coen will also be participating in the walk on Saturday.
All of this week’s events are free to students, but donations are encouraged for the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk on Saturday. Donations can be made at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. More details about the week can be located at K-State UPC’s website.