Fair kicks off Mental Health Awareness Month

Margaret Contreras
Staff Writer 

The Campus Activities Board hosted a Mental Health Fair on Tuesday on the Citrus Lawn to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month which started Wednesday. 

The event featured games related to the theme and Baby’s Badass Burgers food truck was on hand. 

Over 250 students attended the fair. They were encouraged to participate in activities at six stations. The guests were given a sheet of paper with the names of the stations, and once they completed the activity at each station, they received a stamp. 

Event organizer Mikalay Dacpano, junior psychology and child development major, was excited to put on a mental health event, even though some of the issues are hard to talk about. 

“The topics of mental health, drugs and alcohol, sexual assault and suicide … I wanted to bring awareness to… what students might be going through.”

Two of the stations a true-or-false trivia game, and a mix-and-match game. 

The games were related to recognizing different mental health issues, or information and risks around suicide.

Machaela McLain, junior criminology major and CAB member, said she liked that students were open to attending an event like this to help with their mental health. 

“Now that mental health and mental illnesses have become less (stigmatized),” McLain said. “There is still fear in finding out there is something you need help with. This event helps people feel supported. It lets them know it’s okay not to feel okay.” 

There was a station where students could write something positive on a board. 

At one station guests could also share a secret anonymously. 

Yesenia Velazquez, senior biology major, said the share-a-secret station was a good idea. 

“It lets people be more open about the secrets they have,” Velazquez said. “It shows you that people have the same internal fear. It alleviates some of the pressure.”

The secrets were pinned on a board by the check-in table. 

The board also had facts about different mental health issues, with brain scans illustrating the issues. It also offered some signs to look for to know if someone is considering suicide, and showed celebrities who struggle with mental health issues. 

“We all have our secrets,” said Katheryn Aguirre, junior biology major. “Even the people that are confident.” 

The on-campus Counseling and Psychological Services, and off-campus Tri-City Mental Health had information tables as well. 

“If you search for it, you can find resources you need,” Dacpano said. 

She said that students at the University don’t always take advantage of available resources. 

“If you talk to someone, they will connect you to that resource,” Dacpano said. 

Margaret Contreras can be reached at margaret.contreras@laverne.edu.

Magaret Contreras is a sophomore communications major with a concentration in public relations. She is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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