'Stick it to Stigma' launches campaign

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Photo Credit: Gabby Lanza | Daily Texan Staff

Stick it to Stigma began its three-day campaign Tuesday to promote the well-being of students on campus.
 
“We want this to be a major start of a conversation that doesn’t end,” government freshman Jada Fraser said. “This is not going to be a one-time deal. This is going to be the catalyst.”
 
Fraser, a Longhorn Legislative Aide, helped Student Government and the Counseling and Mental Health Center host the campaign under student body president Kevin Helgren’s leadership. Each day has an event where students will discuss and develop skills to address mental illness.
 
The first night kicked off with a workshop on mental health and identity, followed by a conversation Tuesday night with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The campaign will end Thursday with a Normalize What’s Normal student panel.
 
Normalize What’s Normal comes from a platform point from Helgren’s 2016 election campaign to address oppressive stigmas.
 
“If we can make one single person of the 50,000 students on campus that much more inclined to speak about mental health, that’s a success,” said Helgren, a psychology and neuroscience senior.
 
The goal of the campaign is to help educate everyone on campus about mental illness, Fraser said.
 
“Some students may not struggle with their mental health, but I can guarantee that they know someone who is struggling,” Fraser said. “Showing up to these events, you’re going to hear something that will help you be better equipped to help them.”
 
Chemical engineering sophomore Heath Koch said his interest in the campaign comes from seeing many students prioritizing making good grades over self-care.
 
“I always hear people talking about (how) they’re always studying and pulling all-nighters,” Koch said. “I feel like you need to be doing other things to give you a mental break from those classes, so you aren’t always getting bogged down by the pressure.”
 
Engaging other students in dialogue about mental illness and the importance of self-care can positively change how one approaches the topic, Helgren said.
 
“The student voice is the single most important voice on campus,” Helgren said. “We learn a lot from our peers, just because we can empathize and relate to each other more. By hearing from students just like us with their journeys with mental health, it invites us to join the conversation.”