Event focuses on mental health

Flyer for the event. Created by Branielle Edmonds

The Omega Xi chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi and the FYE peer mentoring program dedicated an event to students and their wellbeing called “Mental Health is Wealth.”

To this day, mental illness is seen as a taboo subject in many households, especially in the Black community. For college students juggling school and life, their mental health is often neglected.

Monday’s event at Perry-Paige auditorium was created to bring students who either live with a mental illness or know someone that does, into one room to educate them on the subject.

Branielle Edmonds, a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and the event’s facilitator, talked about why she created “Mental Health is Wealth.”

“I wanted to bring awareness to mental health on our college campus. To express to students who may be dealing with mental illness or know someone who is, how they could better help themselves and others,” said Edmonds. “It was targeted toward mental health in the workspace and beyond.”

According to Active Minds, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to mental health, two out of three students with anxiety and depression don’t seek treatment.

The organization says that 39 percent of students in college experience a significant mental health issue.

Students were able to understand triggering terms for people with a mental illness, how to notice the signs, and ways of coexisting with a mental illness and being open about it at work. They were even able to ask the three guest speakers about their journey and the strength it takes to let it be known at the workplace.

While each guest talked about their mental health journey, they all realized they always had a mental illness and didn’t realize it until their early 20s. They also gave tips on how to have a mental illness and have a successful career at the same time.

Many students and faculty stayed silent to hear the strong women’s testimonies. They had multiple questions for the speakers while mentioning the event was an eye-opening experience.

Jessica Haley, a peer mentor coordinator at FAMU, talked about what she took from the event as an employee at FAMU.

“I think it was insightful in terms of mental illness in a workplace. I’ve always kinda seen it, whether family, friends, but in terms of dealing with it in a corporate aspect, it was just excellent information to hear the ladies speak about their experience,” Haley said. “The best practices piece about meditation and visualization spoke to me because it’s like I hear it all the time, but to hear those ladies say it, and them all being older dealing with mental illness as long as they have. I think like OK, maybe I need to take it a little more seriously.”

On another spectrum, students learned more about helping the ones close to them and how to educate others.

Lisa Gordon, a sophomore business administration student, talked about mental illness in African-American families and what she learned.

“It gave me some insight into mental health and mental health awareness. I learned a great statistic that one in four people have a mental illness which I did not know. It allowed us to learn about the different resources in Tallahassee,” Gordon said. “Do your research, learn more about mental health especially because mental health in the Black community is something that is not spoken about and very taboo.”