By Matt Kauffman
For The Diamondback
The University of Maryland Mental Health Coalition hosted a series of events this week to spread awareness about the importance of mental health and student resources.
The events began Monday and will run through Friday to coincide with National Mental Health Awareness Week. They focused on self-care activities and information about mental health resources, culminating in the seventh annual Self-Care Fair.
The week was planned by the university’s Mental Health Coalition — a group of faculty, staff and students dedicated to supporting mental health, according to Allison Asarch, a staff psychologist at this university’s counseling center.
“Our main goal really is to promote mental health on campus [and] bring awareness of all the different folks across campus that support student mental health,” said Olivia Mays, who works in the University Health Center and oversaw a plant decorating event Monday.
During the event, students decorated their own mini succulents and created “gratitude grams” in appreciation of others. This and other events during the week focused on the importance of taking a moment for self-care.
“It was really our goal to have events that can be done quickly on your way to class, on your way to your next thing, where you can stop and have a brief mental health or self-care moment,” Asarch said. “We wanted something for everybody.”
Sarah Han, a junior bioengineering student, attended the Meet Your Mental Health Providers event Tuesday where she met various campus mental health providers.
The event was planned by the Graduate Student Government and the Student Government Association, both of which had representatives in attendance.
Prior to this year, Han thought of her mental health problems as a weakness.
“I neglected all my problems,” Han said. “But this summer, for the first time, I took advantage of the free counseling sessions at the counseling center.”
It was easy to schedule an appointment with the counseling center, Han said. Many people may not even realize they’re going through something, she added, and taking advantage of resources at the counseling center is a great way to better understand one’s personal mental health.
“It was my first time really reflecting on where my anxiety came from,” she said.
Han appreciates the university dedicating a week to mental health awareness because it shows they care about students’ well-being.
The Self-Care Fair will take place Friday on McKeldin Mall. The event will have therapy dogs, free food, games, carnival activities and mental health resources with a variety of organizations in attendance.