Members of the Counseling and Mental Health Center Student Organization planned brand new events open to all students at their first meeting of the year on Tuesday.
Mental health promotion coordinator Kelsey Lammy said the organization’s goal is to not only increase awareness of mental illness, but to provide a space for students to meet new people.
“We all realize that we have physical health, whether we have been diagnosed with a physical illness or not ... but we don’t think about mental health in that same way. We all have mental health, whether we’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness or not,” Lammy said. “Our (organization) is really trying to start and continue the conversation about mental health.”
The organization began planning the second annual mental health promotion week, consisting of several events taking place from April 10 to 14. The week will feature the group’s first ever Texas Mental Health Monologues, where students can share personal stories of mental illness through a stage performance.
All students are welcome to attend meetings and events, Lammy said.
“Not only is it a great way to make an impact on campus, but I think it’s a really great community,” Lammy said. “We have students that care about each other and are really supportive of one another.”
The members planned to host meetups, inviting all students to attend group activities around Austin.
Events and volunteer days will be held twice a month. The students plan to coordinate a volunteering day at Austin’s psychiatric hospital, as well as a self-care kit-making event.
Future guest speakers and events include psychology professor Caryn Carlson, as well as a workshop on how to manage stress.
Neuroscience sophomore Justin Ahamed, co-president of the group, said the organization is a great place to learn about mental health and the resources available to students.
“Mental health is what I’m all about, and I love helping promote it,” Ahamed said. “It’s very sad that it gets to that point where people ultimately choose to end their lives. I want people to talk about it. There’s so much stigma against talking about it.”
Co-president Nadeen Awadalla said the organization is open to all students, whether or not they have mental health issues.
“We usually just try to create a safe space for students,” psychology junior Awadalla said. “If you had a bad day, you can always come in for that hour. We will listen to you.”