By Marco Andre Lavagnino
The College’s Mental Health Services’ Peer Educators hosted the annual Stigmonologues on Thursday, Nov. 7, where students had the opportunity to share their experiences with mental health to the campus community.
The one-hour event allowed for the audience to hear and participate in the speakers’ stories.
The night started off with a short, silent activity in which the organizers read statements, such as “stand up if you have ever been bullied” and “stand up if you find it difficult to ask for help.”
The audience would have to stand up if it applied to them. It not only became clear to members that everyone has gone through hardships, but also the fact that there are people battling with their inequalities.
“This activity communicates that other people experience the same thing and they are not alone in what they’re feeling,” said Julia Richards, a senior psychology major and Peer Educator.
A total of seven speakers shared their stories with mental health, each one of them being distinct and leaving the audience with respect and recognition for their bravery of opening up to strangers.
Halfway through the event, audience members were able to express their own opinions on what mental health meant to them by writing on cards that were put under everyone’s chairs.
“Stigmonologues impact the campus community by communicating that mental health is nothing to be ashamed about, that people are more than their diagnosis and that no one is alone,” Richards said. “Everyone has mental health, and it is just as important as mental health. This event worked towards (reducing the stigma) by talking openly about mental health and educating the campus community.”
For Jess Burch, a freshman elementary education major and one of the student speakers, the event was very successful and received positive feedback.
“(I) felt appreciated and in a warm and safe environment,” Burch said. “It was a good outlet for people like me to talk about this and teach the public about it.”
Hailey Dushay, a sophomore nursing major who also spoke, felt that events like Stigmologues normalize the discussion of mental health.
“I think it’s important for people to be open about mental health because everyone has experience with it,” Dushay said. “Not everyone has a mental illness, but everyone knows what it’s like to need a mental health day. We live in a world where we tuck the bad parts of ourselves away and don’t share with anyone. But when you’re able to share your struggles, it makes others feel less alone in what they’re going through.”