Today: Jun 25, 2024

Mental Health with Multicultural Center

Brianna Wallen – General Reporter

Over the years, the negative connotations surrounding mental health have slowly been fading. With the stigma associated with mental illness, many people were discouraged from opening up about issues that they faced.  

Thankfully, due to an influx of mental health campaigns, mental health literacy has improved. This leaves room for light to shine on those who were previously silent fighters. 

The atmosphere on campus is no different, as many staff members are inviting students to the conversation on mental health. On Thursday, Nov. 16, students were given a seat at the Multicultural Center to tune into an insightful conversation about mental health.  

Guest speaker Samuel Figueroa had the floor to speak about his own battle with mental health.  

“I’ve definitely dealt with my own mental health problems, whether it be depression or anxiety. It definitely played a big role in my life,” Figueroa said.  

Through his story of his own struggle, Figueroa created motivation to help others who endured the same problems he did.  

“I am hoping that by being able to be honest and transparent with my own struggle, it can be able to help inspire others to be able to be comfortable telling their story and expressing themselves,” Figueroa said. 

In addition to combating the stigma, this transparency served as an example for the following generation. Figuero’s willingness to share his story stems from his passion to emphasize the value of prioritizing mental health.  

“I think it’s important for especially college kids to be able to have that conversation and be able to put an importance on their mental wellbeing,” Figueroa said. 

As he conveyed his story, Figueroa was interviewed by Chrystal Long, the coordinator of Multicultural Counseling. Long is a thriving mental health advocate as she has been in the field for two decades. 

“I always am pushing mental health resources. I’m always talking about mental health because of my role as a counselor. That’s what I do for a living,” Long said.  

Through an exchange of healthy dialogue, Long offered mental health resources for students as well.  

Long hosted the event alongside Niasia Mercado, the assistant director at the University Access Programs Office. Mercado said the event was the result of a collaboration from various departments on campus. 

“Counseling Services and Wellbeing center collaborated in the Multicultural Center to host this event for students tonight,” Mercado said. 

The event was an attempt to inform students that they are not alone in their struggle. The alumni said that she hopes students gain important takeaways from the open discussion.  

“I hope students felt inspired by the story that was shared. I hope that students were able to kind of take away tips on how to utilize resources and how to also deal with their mental health,” Mercado said. 

Students filled the room to tune into the conversation. One of these listeners was computer science major Gerryiki Williams, a freshman. Williams said that the event was immensely helpful to him. 

“It was really inspirational, and I learned about different resources on campus that I can use when I need help mentally,” Williams.  

Specifically, Williams said that the discussion brought him on the right path of shattering the stigma around mental health.  

“I learned to be okay with being vulnerable and being able to open up and talk to other people about my feelings,” Williams said. 

With the success of this event and the importance for resources for mental health, there is a strong student desire for more events in the future. 

“I think it’s really important for people to be informed about it and to feel like they have a place to go to talk about,” Williams said.  

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