Senate’s mental health awareness week focuses on assault trauma Thursday

Logan Raschke, Managing Editor

Eastern’s student government and the student-athlete advisory committee are taking this week to organize events to promote mental health awareness.

Student Body President Carson Gordon, a senior political science major, said the events are meant to open conversations about mental health with college students and lead them to available resources for help. Or sometimes people just want to talk and have someone listen, so that is where student government and the SAAC are stepping in.

Students can attend a tabling Thursday to learn about sexual assault and how it affects the mental health of victims.

Gordon said sexual assault is prevalent because it is traumatic, and victims’ mental health may be affected as a result.

“A lot of sexual assault victims do benefit from seeing a counselor or by receiving mental health resources because it is such a traumatic experience,” Gordon said. “We thought that this would be a good way to kind of tie in both (sexual assault and mental health), and sexual assault is so prevalent on college campuses that we really didn’t want to miss an opportunity to talk about it.”

The sexual assault awareness and prevention tabling will be held at Lantz Arena and outside the Food Court in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Gordon said student government is encouraging everyone on campus to wear green on Friday in honor of mental health awareness.

All throughout the week, “Speak Out” boxes have been located at the Union, Booth Library and Counseling Services, Gordon said.

Students can write messages in the boxes anonymously, and they can be about whatever the students want, she said.

Students can write about their own issues, advice or encouragement for other students and they can write down if they are looking for help. Gordon said student government and the SACC will write back and help them find the resources they are looking for.

Gordon said the “Speak Out” boxes aid students in asking for help with their mental health.

“It’s a way for students to be able to reach out without feeling the pressure of attaching their names to it, but they want help, but they’re a little uncomfortable admitting that they do need that help; this provides them that opportunity,” she said.

Gordon said mental health has a looming stigma that sometimes makes it difficult for people, regardless of demographic, to ask for help.

Gordon said students struggling with their mental health can seek the Counseling Center at Eastern.

According to the clinic’s website, all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Eastern are eligible to receive counseling services. Counselors will also refer students if the clinic’s treatment cannot fulfill the student’s needs.

Gordon said she intends to continue opening dialogue for mental health awareness in the future. By spring, she hopes student government can collaborate with registered student organizations for events to organize more specific mental health-themed events for the rest of the year, such as minority mental health.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]