The Psi-Beta and Psychology Club organized a week dedicated to mental health awareness at Saddleback College last week.
“I got a chance to go the American Psychology Association is Washington D.C. in August and I saw they had The Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walks, and I wanted to do that here at Saddleback in April because we do psychology week. So when I had a chance to talk to the student development I presented and asked to do this walk at Saddleback,” said Jessica Barr, the Psi-Beta and Psychology Club president. “Student Development suggested that we did the walk in the fall, but of course I wanted to make it a full week.”
With little time to spare Barr and her secretary, Annabel Sun, came up with idea to not just focus on suicide but to have A Mental Awareness Week at Saddleback. The week consisted of free seminars, informational and awareness booths, and even a fun day.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Project JOSH (Journeying Onward Substance Abuse Help) jumped on helping the Psi-Beta and Psychology Club in their Mental Awareness Week.
“The Associated Student Government was extremely helpful too, they gave us $2,000 out of their $5,000 budget to help with games and brochures,” Barr said. “Having their support and watching everyone else jump on board was so amazing, because people could have just put up their hand and said no.”
“When we first started out, I felt like this was a good cause so I might as well help out, but it wasn’t till after the suicide walk where the reality really hit me of how much of a good cause this was. Students actually came up to us, they were almost close to tears, and thanked us for doing this because they had attempted suicide before,” said Sun, clinical psychology.
Sun was pleased with the outcome of The Mental Health Awareness week that she helped put together.
“Seeing the responses in students it has actually really encouraged me and hearing the people come out and talk I have noticed that we really are helping to make an impact in peoples lives. It would seem to me that this campus event had so much school spirit more than I have ever seen at Saddleback.” said Sun.
Mental Health Awareness week ended last Thursday night with a seminar presented by NAMI, making students aware of mental illnesses. Speakers consisted of two brave women Laurie and Kelly, who shared with students what it is like to live with a mental illness.
For more information on mental illnesses, support groups or volunteer work visit NAMI.org.