HERC hosts mental health fair to help students


Ashanti Thomas

Students are able to make their own stress balls made with balloons and different items to put inside at the mental health fair in Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Cam'ron Hardy and Drew Coffey

On Tuesday, the Health Education Resource Center, HERC, worked to help students take care of their mental health. The event lasted from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr University Union on the second and third floor.  

It was described as an interactive event for students to be able to improve their mental health and wellness.  

Presentations were held for numerous topics including stress management, sexual assault and domestic violence.

Students were also able to receive flu shots at the event.  

As college students, there are a lot of things that they have to worry about including homework, tests, quizzes, all while trying to maintain a social life.  

Hannah Lawrence, a sophomore majoring in nursing, works as the University Board spotlight coordinator. She helps direct live events that take place on campus that involve liberal arts.  

Lawrence said she wants to help and assist students in any way that she can.  

“I hope that they feel a sense of community, and that they feel they get some time away from school to do some type of self-care and relax,” Lawrence said.  

Lawrence said that the event was a major success pertaining to the amount of people who participated.  

“It’s kind of hard sometimes getting students to come out to different things, but they definitely showed out for this,” Lawrence said.  

Lawrence said putting on events for the University Board has allowed her many opportunities and connections.  

Macie Knudsen, a freshman majoring in elementary education, took advantage of the event to relieve stress. 

“We just came out here to enjoy this, and kind of get some stress out from school and just get away from the dorm room,” Knudsen said.

Knudsen said homework was stressing her out, and she came to get away from that while hanging out with her friends and being involved in events that were present. 

Taylor Sprenkle, a freshman majoring in pre physical therapy, attended a presentation giving information about mental health and she gave a description of it.  

“What we learned was different ways of coping if you have having depressive thoughts, what to say to people, what not to say to people, because some things that you say to them could rub off the wrong way,” Sprenkle said. “And we also just learned where [human services] are located and if we ever need counseling to call and always ask questions.”  

Sprenkle comments on her mental health and how it has improved over time.  

“At the moment, it’s actually going really good,” Sprenkle said. “In the beginning of the year, not so much because I was not being with my family, but I’ve grown into being able to contact them if I need to. My independency has gotten a lot better.” 

Benadette Mangialardi, a counselor at Eastern, was the host of the mental health presentation. She gave information on the presentation as well, and what she hopes students learned from watching it.

“Really for me, I was talking about depression and just recognizing that it’s ok to feel sad some days,” Mangialardi said. “It’s ok that some days are going to be harder than others but recognizing that supporting one another and being there for one another is going to be beneficial and recognizing that you’re not alone in this.” 

Mangialardi talks about how she maintains her mental health while working and what she does to handle it.  

“If someone you know, such as myself, is feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I definitely collaborate with my coworkers, my supervisor to make sure that I’m in a position where I can provide the best care to the students,” Mangialardi said.  

Mangialardi discusses what she hopes students are able to take away from the entire fair.  

“[I want students] to recognize that mental health in general affects us all in different ways but there is so much out there, especially counseling,” Mangialardi said. “But there are so many ways to just take care of ourselves. And that some days are good some days are bad you know, but at the end of the day we’re all in this together.”


Cam’ron Hardy and Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].