Mental Health Ambassadors partnered with We Coach, Reformed University Fellowship, Sky Meditation, Kappa Delta and Phi Gamma Delta to host Fall Fest on Sanford Mall on Thursday.
MHA is a group of students who represent the counseling center. They hope to destigmatize mental health on campus.
“We basically do outreach for the counseling center,” Amanda Bianco, senior psychology major and MHA secretary, said. “We promote the services and resources we have on campus to promote better mental health and wellness while in college for students.”
Bianco said Fall Fest was started in 2017 by an intern in the counseling center.
“We want to do it annually to promote conversation about mental health on campus and to let students know about the resources,” Bianco said. “A lot of times freshmen come and they don’t know about the resources we offer on campus, and that most of them are free.”
Carson Burleson, president of MHA and senior English and religious studies major, said they hope Fall Fest will help students talk about their mental health.
“I think we all have struggles and it’s important to know that other people are there for you as well,” Burleson said.
Burleson said it’s important to decrease the stigma that surrounds mental health today.
“Mental health is a hard thing to get students to be willing to talk about and to understand. I think events like this say to everybody, ‘It’s okay, and you’re not alone,’” Bianco said.
The campus organizations who participated in Fall Fest set up individual booths with activities that discussed mental health.
“It’s been really rewarding that everyone we’ve reached out to was really overwhelmingly willing to participate and promote mental health, and not just what their organization is about,” Bianco said.
Gabriel Talavera, member of Phi Gamma Delta and senior construction major, said it’s important to remind students that others at App State do care about mental health.
“Our game, Trash Your Insecurities, is an easy way to get people thinking about an insecurity that they have and just being able to in their minds push it aside and get rid of it,” Talavera said. “Obviously, it’s not as simple as that but it helps the process move along.”
Bianco said next year MHA plans to expand by bringing in more organizations and possibly turning the Fall Fest into a two-day long event.
Story by Cameron Stuart and Anna Muckenfuss
Photo by Anna Muckenfuss
Featured photo caption: Students walk around Sanford Mall during Fall Fest