Across the United States, October is a time in which people work to bring awareness to Mental Illness and promote its extreme importance. Loras College will be hosting Mental Illness Awareness Week from Oct. 15-19. A series of activities will be held throughout the week to bring awareness to the campus about a serious issue in today’s society. Tricia Borelli, a counselor here at Loras, expressed the importance of mental illnesses.
“Mental health is just as important as physical health, but unfortunately there is a stigma attached to it. Mental Illness Awareness Week brings awareness to campus and helps decrease the stigma that many of us hold. It is so important for Loras College to bring light to the issues of mental health and mental illness among college students as it is a growing health concern in America,” said Borelli.
Events to keep a watchful eye for include meditation on Monday, a mental health panel discussion on Tuesday, mindfulness practice on Wednesday, and art therapy on Thursday. Everyone is also encouraged to wear a green shirt on Friday to bring awareness to Mental Illness. Many more events will also be featured each day including yoga, music, treats, and more! A mental health screening will also be offered in the Health Center lobby during common time on Wednesday.
“One in five college students experience a mental health condition while in college. Doing a screening is a quick and easy way to identify if symptoms – like sleeplessness, racing thoughts, sadness, or something else – are a sign of a mental illness. Many students are unaware of the symptoms, minimize feelings of anxiety and depression or they just don’t want to talk about it,” Borelli said.
Borelli hopes that this week will be a time to increase awareness among the students by offering activities that will show the importance of mental health in our society, and on our campus.
“Our activities during mental illness awareness week may help students distinguish between whether they are stressed, have a situational mental health issue or a diagnosable mental illness. We have events for all of these cases. Anxiety is the most common thing we see in the Counseling Center. Some students are simply feeling overwhelmed by the demands of college and life in general where as other students have frequent panic attacks or are unable to go to the Café because of crippling social anxiety. We can help all of these kinds of people but sometimes more is needed for students who have significant symptoms. The sooner we talk about mental health and mental illness, the sooner people can address the issue and move towards a more fulfilling life.
Borelli would also like to remind the students of the counseling centers services where herself and Elizabeth Ramos work week days to help students. Their offices are located next to the health center in the ACC and services are confidential and free of cost.