By Tori Kuhr
Mental illnesses are silent diseases of the mind that are amongst the hardest to treat and understand. Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) prioritized caring for their student’s mental illnesses by hosting their second annual Mental Wellness Knight on Nov. 15, from 7–9 p.m. in Hudson Hall Auditorium. It was organized by MSMC’s counseling and disabilities centers to bring awareness to mental illnesses that many people aren’t educated enough on. The biggest reason for hosting this event is to de-stigmatize mental illnesses and get conversations started.
The night included various tables of student-run clubs lining the auditorium with posters about how their club can help relieve stress, and with different activities to start putting students at ease. These activities included: making slime, building with Legos, making friendship bracelets and creating hand knit keychains.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four students have a diagnosable illness, 40 percent of college students do not seek help, 80 percent feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and 50 percent have felt so anxious that they struggle in school.
Student performance showed an alternative way to relieve stress and shared their own experiences: Improvology, Alpha Knights Step Team, Knight Notes and Essence of Poetry. Musical Exchange were scheduled to perform, but they were not able to attend. A highlight of the performance groups was Essence of Poetry hosting a question and answer panel after all their poets performed to express how poetry helps to calm them.
The most common answer by the poets was using poetry as a way to get all their emotions down on paper to better understand how they feel, and to show personal growth when looking back on old poetry.
MSMC counseling services suggested five ways of self-care:
- Sleeping well
- Staying active
- Eating nutritious food
- Taking time to relax
- Connecting with other people
The biggest help for someone with a mental illness is to find people who are willing to support and be that helping hand or shoulder to cry on when it gets too hard.
For more information on mental illnesses and what you can do to support yourself and others, visit https://www.nami.org/.
To get in touch with an MSMC counselor visit https://www.msmc.edu/Student_Services/Counseling.