The LSU Student Health Center partnered with Student Government and LSU’s National Alliance on Mental Illness to put on the first official Mental Health Week last week.
This was an activity-packed week with two to four events each day, ranging from a television show screening to goat yoga. Each event uniquely worked to help students learn more about mental health and well-being.
“We have seen this week as being a success in that we’ve gotten to interact with students that otherwise we wouldn’t have,” LSU Student Health Center Wellness and Health Promotion Coordinator Crystal Loup said. “We’ve been able to provide opportunities for students to participate in discussions about mental health. But not only participate- start the discussion.”
The week offered students two different opportunities to get a free, brief mental health consultation. This was featured as part of the Mental Health Week, but is actually a new initiative that began last semester. And is consistent every week on Monday and Thursday. The Student Health Center created the initiative to combat the lack of staffing and long wait times for therapy sessions. Students can now receive short mental health consultations every Monday and Thursday at the Student Health Center.
“In the fall our mental health counselors decided that they really wanted to get out into the campus community,” Loup said. “To be a little bit more visible and provide options for students to just talk about mental health briefly and maybe ask questions that they wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable asking."
History and philosophy junior Savannah Weisensee is currently serving her first year as president of LSU’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is a student-led organization that works to promote, educate and advocate for mental health and overall well-being on campus. The organization has around 130 members and holds monthly meetings and movie nights.
NAMI partnered with the Student Health Center for Mental Health Week, but mostly worked on promoting the events.
“The Student Health Center really did most of the work,” Weisensee said. “We weren’t really involved. They did all the planning. We were a partnership in outreach, getting students involved. Partnership wise, this year at least, they put it together, we helped get the students involved.”
Vice President of NAMI and psychology sophomore Christopher Hart wants to work even harder in promoting for the event next year. He said even his psychology professor didn't know about the Mental Health Week events.
Weisensee agrees, stating that there is only so much their organization can do to advertise the week.
“The Student Health Center sent out the information on their social medias, but it would have been very easy for LSU to send it to every student,” Weisensee said. “There’s always next year. But we send it to our email list and we can only 'word of mouth' the events so much. LSU has the capacity to inform all of the students, so hopefully we can see that next year.”