May is Mental Health Month, and throughout the month Lafene Health Center and Counseling Services will make social media posts focusing on building mental health skills.
Jennifer Miller, health promotion director at Lafene, does outreach for both Lafene and Counseling Services.
“We are planning to do a lot of different social media outreach,” Miller said. “Addressing how to cope with your feelings, how to create and maintain schedules, those types of things.”
Every year, Mental Health America produces a Mental Health Month toolkit, and this year their theme is Tools 2 Thrive.
“That’s what we’re incorporating, which actually dovetails very nicely into our new initiative called ‘Thrive,'” Miller said. “That’s really trying to help students, faculty, staff learn how to bounce back from adversity as well as check with their own mental health.”
The posts will focus on building practical skills like writing down what you are grateful for and being aware of the influences in your life. Additionally, Lafene also wants to host a virtual town hall.
“We also are trying to plan for, later in the month, a town hall with one of the therapists from Counseling Services, which would just be a forum for folks to ask questions about, what does therapy look like and what types of services Counseling Services offers,” Miller said.
Through these initiatives, Lafene wants to give people a space to share their experiences will mental health services and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, she said.
“We are hoping to give a space online for folks to share, as well as during that town hall forum, and working to find a way that people could do that anonymously if they wanted, or share their identity if they’re comfortable with that,” Miller said.
While Lafene is hindered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Miller said they are trying to do what they can to help students manage their well-being.
“I definitely would’ve liked to do more for it given everything going on,” she said. “We still wanted to at least raise awareness within the constraints that we have right now.”
With all the life transitions people are going through at this time, Miller said it is important to be in tune with what is going on and knowing where to go if you need extra support.
“You can’t separate the mind from the body,” she said. “You have to treat it holistically, and this is really a time that we want to focus on that importance of mental health.”
Overall, Miller said she wants to create a space where people with similar struggles can connect and know that they are not alone.
“We really want to keep mental health on the forefront, because it is such a critical component of well-being,” Miller said.