Stand4You members lined up throughout GUC’s Link of Nations Hallway on Tuesday looking for students and members of the Salisbury University to take a pledge; a pledge to end the silence of mental health disorders, to listen about mental health without judgment, to treat every person as capable and valuable and to speak out against stigma.
This pledge was taken for the A Day Without Stigma Carnival, an event put on by SU’s Stand4You organization. This was not an event solely for people affected by mental illnesses, it was an event for the entire community.
“We hold this event to promote education and awareness about mental health,” said Brittany Hines of the Salisbury University Health Department.
At the carnival, Stand4You acknowledged comments and phrases, such as, “you’re crazy” or “that’s crazy,” that are often said without the speaker realizing the impact they can have.
Both of these phrases can embarrass or shame those around the speaker who are suffering from psychiatric disorders and discourage them from revealing their pain and seeking care.
Mental health is not always viewed the same as other illnesses and is frequently viewed in a more negative light.
Stand4You Suicide Prevention Coordinator Anisa Diab explained that people are discriminated against when they have a mental illness and that it is important to recognize that a mental illness is just one characteristic to a person that he or she should not be defined by.
“This is the first year that we’ve held this event, but we would like to continue to do this every year,” Diab said.
Across many of the tables was information and resources, including warning signs of depression and ways to intervene if one is suspected of being suicidal.
Another tool used by SU for mental health awareness is the online “At-risk for college students” tutorial.
In this tutorial, participants are put into an online simulation of a situation where he or she is experiencing seeing a friend with mental illness symptoms. Likewise, this tutorial explained the ways to catch these symptoms and encourage friends to seek help.
The carnival also promoted becoming an advocate for mental health.
There are many ways to get involved in promoting mental health awareness. The first step is taking the pledge to end the silence. Though one does not necessarily have to join any organization, a student can be the person that speaks out for the cause.
In addition to all resources and information, the carnival held more entertaining activities, such as a Positive Photography Booth to learn about Active Minds as well as an art exhibit with the theme “View Mental Health, Know the Facts, No Stigma.”
A difference can be made if a community as a whole strives to make the difference, Stand4You asserted. No one person can change the attitudes, but one person can lead a community to change their attitudes.
Stand4You leading this change. The group says their purpose of holding events like these is to change the attitudes of how people in the community view mental illnesses.
More information and education will be available at the “Know the Facts, No Sigma Conference” this upcoming spring on March 19.