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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Student organizations host events during Mental Health Awareness Month

Several on-campus events will be held to highlight mental health intersectionality, wellness and resources for students

 

By LILY FREEMAN — campus@theaggie.org

 

The month of May is “Mental Health Awareness Month” and several student organizations will be hosting events and activities to promote both mental wellness and the resources available for students on campus. 

The Mental Health Initiative (MHI), a student organization dedicated to mental health advocacy, has planned several events and spaces to cultivate conversations surrounding mental wellness this May. 

Astha Soni, a fourth-year psychology and human development double major and the director of MHI, explained the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month to the organization. 

“May is the month when we rely on advocacy and connecting with our community,” Soni said. “We are going to do more advocacy projects in terms of outreach, research and collaboration while also creating a space for the entire month for students to just look at different intersections within mental health.” 

Soni said that MHI will be hosting two to four events every week during May, each discussing different intersections within mental health. 

“One of our weeks will focus on the intersection of the queer community and mental health,” Soni said. “We are also going to be talking about more niche and not-as-well-talked-about intersections such as the undocumented and incarcerated communities and their mental health overlap.” 

Natalie Bruch, a fourth-year biological psychology major and the publicity coordinator of MHI, also discussed the activities that the organization has in store and how they plan to handle conversations that MHI members might not be experts in. 

“There are also going to be a lot of collaborations with other clubs and organizations around campus because we aren’t qualified to talk about all of these things, but still want to touch on these topics because they’re important,” Bruch said.

MHI will be hosting a yoga event on the Quad and a menstrual health activity with Davis Period. The organization will also be giving out flowers and affirmation mirrors on campus. 

Bruch said that a complete list of events for the month will be posted on the MHI Instagram so that students can be in the know about when and where they can participate. 

ASUCD also plans to recognize Mental Health Awareness Month. Senator Priya Talreja said that she and others in ASUCD Senate want to be intentional throughout the month.

“One of my goals this year as a senator is to work towards addressing the need for more racially diverse and culturally competent mental health support on campus,” Talreja said. 

Talreja has specifically been working toward the creation of more South Asian-specific mental health programs and advocating for the creation of a South Asian support group. 

“This group is meant to be a culturally mindful space to help students navigate the intersection between their experiences on campus and their South Asian identity,” Talreja said. “I hope that this group will serve as a starting point for the expansion of identity-based support groups on campus.”

Talreja also talked about the South Asian Mental Health Coalition, which she created this year to bring together campus partners and student-government members to discuss South Asian mental health.

“The goal of this group is to build community and support collaboration between mental health advocates on campus in a way that centers the lived experiences of our students,” Talreja said. 

ASUCD President Radhika Gawde highlighted other ways that ASUCD is planning to use this month to promote mental health advocacy. 

“College is hard, and students face a number of mental health challenges throughout their time at UC Davis,” Gawde said. “ASUCD is planning to partner with Student Affairs to explore innovative ways to ensure that Aggies have better access to counseling and to foster the growth of ASUCD’s Mental Health Initiative Conference and ASUCD’s other mental health resources.”

Bruch explained why having a dedicated time of year to recognize mental health challenges is important to many.

“It’s important to create spaces to talk about these things, and I feel like it’s easier to do when you recognize that this is a dedicated time to start searching into that for yourself,” Bruch said. “It’s going to be a very positive time around campus because I know that there are a lot of awareness clubs around campus, and everybody has their own plan. I would expect that there’s going to be events happening almost every single day. Everybody can find a space that resonates with them, […] and they feel like this is personal to them and like they can feel safe in these spaces.” 

While Mental Health Awareness Month only lasts through May, students always have mental health resources available to them at UC Davis. Soni said that to help students navigate all of the resources that UC Davis offers, MHI created an on-campus resource guide for students to decide which services would be best for them. This guide can be found on MHI’s Instagram @ucdmentalhealthinitiative

 

Written by: Lily Freeman — campus@theaggie.org