Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) and PULSE teamed up to raise awareness of mental health disorders and the stigmas surrounding them for the fourth Buck the Stigma: Mental Health Awareness Week. In previous years, this event was held in spring twice and winter once to align with the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s (NAMI) mental health awareness week, according to nutrition sophomore and ASI executive cabinet member Haley Wintsch.
“It ended up being two weeks after that mental health awareness week and it was a great time to partner with PULSE and Campus Health and Wellbeing to make October a mental health awareness month at Cal Poly,” Wintsch said.
Wintsch, an organizer of the event, said the week of educational activities started Oct. 16.
“By destigmatizing mental illness and educating students on their resources and on the warning signs of mental illness, we can help to improve their overall success in academics and life,” Wintsch said.
Each day of the four-day event highlights a different mental health issue, educating students and encouraging people to get help for mental health issues if they need it.
According to the NAMI, 25 percent of college students are affected by a mental illness. Buck the Stigma will increase awareness of resources on and off campus.
“Every student will perceive the awareness gallery, graphics, etc. differently, but our goal is to remind students that their mental health journey is supported,” Wintsch said. “We are hoping that these events and resources will give students the power to get help for themselves or their peers if needed.”
This week’s schedule
Monday, Oct. 16: “Beautifully You”
Monday will focus on eating disorders, activities promote body positivity in Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) from 10 a.m. to noon.
Tuesday, Oct. 17: “Meditate and Educate”
Students can de-stress with yoga balls, meditation and coloring or play in a ball pit on Dexter Lawn from 10 a.m. to noon. The Robert E. Kennedy Library Atrium will also host water coloring from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 18: “What You Don’t See”
Free coffee and donuts will be provided in the UU from 10 a.m. to noon. ASI, PULSE, Safer, Transitions Mental Health Association and the Cal Poly Psychology Club will provide information about on-campus mental health resources. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Kreuzberg Coffee Company will host an open mic night dedicated to depression.
Thursday, Oct. 19: “Survive and Thrive”
Seventeen backpacks will be placed on chairs on the second floor in the UU to represent Cal Poly students who lost their lives to suicide. From 11 a.m. to noon, henna tattoos will be given on Dexter Lawn while musicians perform.
Friday, Oct. 20: Volleyball Tournament
The annual tournament is held in memory of Cal Poly alumnus Mark Reuling who lost his life to bipolar disorder. The tournament will be in the Recreation Center, with the student division from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. An event T-shirt and Woodstock’s Pizza will be provided to those that participate.
For additional information on mental health issues and how to get help, an interactive awareness gallery will stand in Dexter Lawn for the entire week.
“The awareness gallery is a new addition to Buck the Stigma and we want to encourage students to walk through, interact and become familiar with the mental health resources,” Wintsch said.