By Samantha Werkheiser
The Mental Health Awareness Day Fair has been held for the past six years on the Thursday before Halloween and offers students a stress-relieving and educational day.
The Department of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Office of Accessible Services Individualized for Students (OASIS) and the student organization Active Minds had several interactive tables.
The Halloween-themed event had a variety of activities for students to do, such as a makeup artist and costumes, therapy dogs, massages, acupuncture and a knowledge scavenger hunt with a prize drawing every 15 minutes.
The scavenger hunt was designed to educate students on the different mental health disorders and symptoms, specifically depression and anxiety.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health 30.2 percent of people aged 18 to 29 have some type of anxiety disorder and 10.3 percent of people aged 18 to 25 suffer from major depressive disorder.
“These students, this is the generation that’s going to change the way we talk about, feel about and think about mental health,” says Director of Psychological and Counseling Services, Linda Van Meter.
One table featured an activity where the different colors of M&Ms represented a different emotion or coping mechanism that students can share on a card.
“We’re going to post it so they can get different ideas for things they can do or to see that they’re not alone,” says freshman Emily Skotak.
Another table featured a poster with the top stressors for college students and how to cope with them, as well as paper mirrors that students wrote five things they like about themselves on.
“When you’re having a bad day, you go back and look at your paper,” said Rebecca Coad, a senior and public health major.
The ESU recreation fitness table promoted yoga and meditation, two big stress relievers.
Besides opening up the discussion and educating students on mental health, the event also had several stress-relieving stations and fun activities.
The professional makeup artist would make students into anything, from a glittery fairy to a gruesome monster.
An array of costumes, wigs and props for students to try on and take pictures in was provided by OASIS as well.
Pause for Paws therapy dogs were present at the fair, being yet another way for students to relieve stress.
The Pause for Paws therapy dogs are on campus twice a week, Tuesdays in Sci-Tech from 2-4 p.m. and Thursdays in the CAPS office.
Massages, acupuncture and cupping by trained professionals were given free of charge to the students who sought to get their energy and chi flowing.
CAPS holds a stress-relief themed day every spring and Van Meter hopes to get more students certified in mental health first aid in the upcoming semester.
For more information on mental health and the services offered by ESU, go to http://www.esu.edu/caps.
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