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Madison 101: The Online Intro to JMU

Monday, March 18, 2002 Updated: 10.21.02

Week focuses on college student mental health

by Kate Snyder / staff writer


Brian Hall / Staff photographer
Starting last Thursday, "The Journey of Wellness" interactive lecture series explores the uses and benefits of complementary and alternative medicine. It will run for five weeks on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. During last Thursday's session, pychiatrist Michael Marcum indtroduced the series.

This week, health science students will host "A New You in 2002" for Mental Health Awareness Week at JMU. Students organized events to demonstrate to others the importance and effects of mental health among college students.

Associate Professor of Health Sciences Thomas Syre's HTH 458 class, Health Programming, Planning and Evaluation, is running the week of events.

According to class member, junior Jaclyn Marsano, the purpose is to create a campus-wide event that will help students in the class plan and evaluate a health promotion program.

Within the class, junior Eric Dalton acts as CEO and junior Stacey Armstrong is assistant CEO.

The class is broken up into four committees, including fund raising, headed by junior Devon Dohony, marketing, headed by Marsano, research and evaluation, headed by sophomore Jackson Baynard, and implementation and activities, headed by senior Lauren Smith.

"With the participation of each of these groups, we have planned events to make people aware of mental illnesses and to provide resources for help that are available on campus," Marsano said.

The activities are planned for every day of the week, which run from today through Thursday. Today, students can make stress balls on the commons from 11 a.m to 3 p.m.

Tomorrow, "Speak Out on Mental Health" will take place in Health and Human Services 1301 at 7 p.m. Two students will speak about their personal experiences with stress, anxiety and other forms of mental health. A speaker from the Counseling and Student Development Center also will talk about services it offers for students. This is a passport event.

Students can take anxiety screenings on Wednesday to determine individual stress and anxiety levels. This will be administered by CSDC in Taylor 306 from 3 to 5 p.m. The week will conclude on Thursday with a free yoga class at UREC from 3 to 4 p.m. An informational table will be set up in UREC following the class, and anyone can come ask questions and get further information.

"A lot of students probably don't realize the true impact of mental health," Armstrong said. "All of us suffer from stress and anxiety probably more often than we should. I really hope students come out and learn about its effects."

Syre's class has done similar projects in the past, including anti-smoking campaigns and eating disorder awareness, but this is the first time the class has focused on mental health. "We plan on keeping this for future years to come and have started a Web site so people can get information," Marsano said. "We hope to gain as much support as possible because mental disorders make up a large part of our campus and can ruin people's college experiences."

Sponsored in part by CSDC and the University Health Center, the class has worked to raise funds for the week through bagel sales, Papa John's pizza sales, a raffle and a Ki: Theory and MacGregor concert at Highlawn Pavilion.

"It's for a really good cause," Marsano said. "Look for us on the commons and be aware of fliers around campus promoting our weekly events. We're hoping it will be a lot of fun, and we have lots of free information and prizes to give to everyone."

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