IVYLEE ROSARIO — Special to Southern News
For Carly Wieland, the new Farnham Hall Program Series is a chance for students to not only learn about their mental health, she said, but also improve on every aspect of their lives as they face difficult decisions while in college.
“Every Tuesday night we are going to have a different program designed to teach students the skills they will need to take care of their health,” said Wieland, 28-year-old graduate intern at Counseling Services. “Students can come together and socialize, get information on how to improve their lives, and gain knowledge about students in similar situations to theirs so they don’t have to feel alone.”
This past Tuesday was the sixth program from the Farnham Hall series, a Trick or Treat Game Night that featured Mental Illness Jeopardy. This gave students a chance to test their knowledge of different mental illnesses while also interacting with fellow students. This new set of programs are provided by Southern’s Counseling Services that also receive help from the club Active Minds.
Active Minds is a student-run club that focuses on mental health awareness, education, and advocacy. There are chapters on over 200 college campuses across the country that each focus on different mental health topics, according to the SCSU Active Minds information page.
Southern’s chapter works to educate students about depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide. Their goals are to open the discussion about mental health disorders and help to eliminate them as social stigmas.
“I am the president of Active Minds. We focus on doing our best to educate others as well as ourselves on mental health issues,” said Jessica Pittman, 22-year-old third semester senior psychology major. “Our group is all about changing health awareness and fighting negative thoughts about illness, because there are cures and not everyone knows that.”
The Trick or Treat Game Night lasted around an hour and provided information on not only mental illnesses, but also examples of other reasons for students to feel welcome to make appointments at counseling services.
“I think the program went really well. They did a really good job of sharing information with us but also making it fun to learn about these different illnesses,” said Hillary Wheeler, a 19-year-old sophomore accounting major. “I get really competitive so the fact that we were playing Jeopardy was really exciting to me because I wanted to get all the questions right; it made it easy for me to get involved. I was surprised at how much I actually knew but also interested in what I didn’t know.”
The Counseling Services on campus are available to any full or part-time student enrolled at Southern. Services are free, voluntary, and confidential. Students can talk about any concerns they have including low self-confidence and relationships, alcohol and drug use, family concerns and anxiety disorders that are interfering with their everyday lives.
“We encourage all students to feel like they can come get counseling and feel comfortable. Problems like these can affect any student and any aspect of their life,” said Wieland. “Counseling is a source of support for students here and hopefully these programs will help reach students who need skills in development and to learn about their mental health. Students need to know they are not alone and there are others that are going through the same struggles as them.”