Students explore wellness during mental health expo

Mr. and Miss FAMU along with Zhoe Thomas, and Delia Washington participate in panel discussion during the expo. Photo courtesy: Kerrington Freeman

Florida A&M hosted a mental health day expo Nov. 9 in front of the CASS Building, demonstrating a vibrant display of unity and support. More than 200 students participated in a variety of activities designed to promote mental health awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

With mental health’s significant impact on students’ performance in school,  the expo served as a way for students to learn valuable information on the topic with decompressing from the stress of the semester.

The event, organized by the community mental health resource group, SheSpeaksSolutions, partnered with FAMU to tackle the global mental health crisis and advocate for improved mental health services for all.

The expo began with a Suicide Prevention Certification Lunch N Learn. Several sessions followed, including Zumba, massage therapy, paint and sip, music and animal therapy and plant sessions, providing many activities for students to choose from.

The expo also featured a student-led panel discussion making mental health a priority. The panel, led by Devin Nobles and Kendall Johnson, Mr. and Miss FAMU respectively, emphasized how important it is to have honest conversations about mental health and to ask for assistance when necessary.

“It’s really important for us as students to know that it is okay to speak to someone if we need to,” Johnson said. “We have to encourage ourselves and each other to continue attending events like this and using our resources as needed.”

Numerous vendors and visiting community leaders further enhanced the expo. Various mental health resources were available for attendees to visit. Tables like “Florida Healthy Start” offered valuable information. Local businesses, including Smoothie King, Leola’s Crab Shack, and Big D’s BBQ, ensured that attendees were nourished and refreshed throughout the day.

Beyond informational sessions, the event aimed to provide a holistic experience. The inclusion of therapy animals, invigorating Zumba sessions, and the therapeutic benefits of painting and planting created an environment where students could explore various avenues to enhance their well-being.

The success of FAMU’s Worldwide Mental Health Day Expo demonstrated the value of community cooperation in addition to highlighting the university’s dedication to mental health advocacy. By addressing mental health openly and providing diverse resources, FAMU contributed to a culture that encourages students, faculty, and staff to seek help and prioritizing mental well-being.

The event stood as a testament to the university’s dedication to breaking down barriers and fostering a supportive environment for mental health awareness.