Psychology club encourages mental health awareness
During the week of April 2, the Psychology Club presented their annual Mental Health Awareness Week in the Student Center, as well as a panel of students who discussed mental health issues.
The organization held a table in the Student Center every day of the week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a new theme each day.
Monday, April 2, was “Pop-Psychology;” students were given free lollipops tagged with positive messages. Tuesday was “Express Your Psyche,” when the club had laptop stickers for sale. Wednesday featured “Mythbusters,” where students could guess whether random mental health facts were true or false. Thursday was designated “Self-Care Day,” with free HX Salon goodie bags, a raffle for a gender-neutral spa basket, makeup samples, stress ball making, face masks for sale and free tea bags. Finally, Friday was “Post-It-Tivity,” where students could write out positive messages for the club’s positivity board.
In addition, the Psychology Club hosted meditation sessions on Thursday, April 5.
“With things like mental health, you need more support, more understanding [and] more flexibility in thinking, not less, and we try to promote that, especially during this week,” said Psychology Club Treasurer and senior psychology major Brittany Bonasera.
The Psychology Club also partnered with the Muslim Student Association, the Collegiate Women of Color, the African Student Association, the Hofstra Organization of Latinx Americans and the Pride Network to host a Mental Health Discussion Panel on Wednesday, April 4, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in Plaza Room Middle. The panel highlighted ways of coping with mental illness through the personal stories of panelists.
Bonasera said that the panel was her favorite event of the week. “Mental health is a struggle for not just one group of people [but] across cultures, across countries, race, ethnicity – everything. We get a bunch of different club members together, people from different racial backgrounds, different family backgrounds, just different walks of life and we put them all together and we talk about our own perspectives.”
Angell Xiang, a senior biology and psychology major, attended the panel. “All the panelists were really open … I liked how they shared their personal experiences, and I could feel like it resonated with a lot of the audience members.”
According to Psychology Club Community Service Coordinator Nathaniel Lewis, a senior psychology major, it was important to discuss mental health as a whole, not just mental health issues, because “knowing what is healthy to do for your mental health and for the kind of person that you want to be is just as important as knowing what’s wrong … It’s important to have a good sense of ‘mental hygiene.’”
Bonasera added, “It’s not necessarily the absence of a mental illness or mental disorder; it’s more of the things that you do to take care of yourself and benefit yourself.”
One of the club members manning the tables during “Self-Care Day” was Nandini Jhawar, a senior psychology major, who said, “We’ve had a lot of people stop by and really appreciate the self-care part of today’s event.” In regard to the overall week, she said, “It’s really great that the Psych Club brings it out there for an entire week, not just a single event.”
Fellow Psychology Club member Amanda Lastella, a sophomore fine arts and psychology major, enjoyed making everything “available to the different students, even just small things like making stress balls and things like that.”
Psychology Department Chair Craig Johnson celebrated Psychology Club’s work, stating, “Mental health is important, and mental health issues are sometimes misunderstood and not fully appreciated. I’m happy that our students are participating in Mental Health Awareness Week.”
Bonasera shared her thoughts on the significance of Mental Health Awareness Week. “We should try to unite more, rather than break apart. Try to be understanding. Look out for each other, and if you don’t feel good, you should seek help. There’s no shame in that.”